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Perceptions of teachers in their first year of school restructuring :
b failure to make adequate yearly progress
h [electronic resource] /
by Sharon Moser.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains X pages.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
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ABSTRACT: The 2007-2008 school year marked the first year Florida's Title I schools that did not made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for five consecutive years entered into restructuring as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. My study examines the perceptions of teacher entering into their first year of school restructuring due to failure to achieve AYP. Four research questions guided my inquiry: What are the perceptions of teachers regarding their school's failure to make Adequate Yearly Progress? What are the understandings of teachers regarding the restructuring process?, What are the perceptions of teachers regarding the restructuring process?, and In what ways have their perceptions of the restructuring process changed their reading instruction? The purpose of this study is to gain insight into teachers' perceptions of AYP and its restructuring consequences. I applied grounded theory, ethnography as a research tool, and critical discourse analysis as a research tool to this organizational case study. Twelve teachers from Star Elementary School, a rural Title I elementary school, served as participants. I collected data using field notes, semi-structured interviews, and surveys. I collected data for a total of 148.25 hours over a period of 31 days at Star Elementary School. My analysis of the data revealed while teachers placed blame on students, parents, and policy makers, they also looked inwardly to their own shortfalls and contributions to AYP failure. Teachers understood the specific consequences related to AYP failure and demonstrated an understanding of data analysis of their student state test scores. Teachers did not demonstrate an understanding that NCLB (2001) allows for teachers to be part of the decision-making process regarding curriculum and instruction at their school. Teachers also reported decreased authority and autonomy due to Star's failure to make AYP. My research supports the Restructuring Inverse Impact Theory: consequences of NCLB's (2001) reform mandates intended to enhance student achievement may negatively impact that achievement due to the undermining of teacher efficacy.
Advisor: James King, Ed.D.
x Childhood Ed and Literacy Stdies
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Perceptions of Teachers in their First Year of School Restructuring: Failure to Make Adequate Yearly Progress by Sharon Moser A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Childhood Education and Literacy Studies College of Education University of South Florida Major Professor: James King, Ed.D Darlene DeMarie, Ph.D. Kathryn Laframboise, Ph.D. Janet Richards, Ph.D. Date of Approval: March 5, 2010 Keywords: cons equence, efficacy, NCLB, school reform, Title I Copyright 2010, Sharon Moser
DEDICATION First, I dedicate this dissertation to my family. Jam ie and Jimmy; T hank you for the love and support you gave to me throughout your growing up years as you watched me become a teacher and a researcher. Your willingness to share me with those who helped me along the path to a doctoral degree is honored and appreciated more than y ou will ever know. Mom and Dad; I wish you were still here to see me compl ete this journey. I love and miss you both, and I hope I have made you proud. S andra, Bill, and your families; t hank you for supporting me, babysitting my kids, and encouraging me even when you thought I had lost my mind when I entered this program. Fin ally to John; y our belief in my ability to complete this program never wavered. Thank you for your love and support. I also dedicate this dissertation to the school teachers of Star Elementary School, as well as all teachers facing the frustrations assoc iated with school reform. I salute your dedication to your students and am privileged to call you my colleagues.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS How do I begin to gratefully acknowledge everyone who has helped me complete this journey? Many souls have helped me along the way and with loving appreciation I thank each and every one of you. First and foremost, my thanks and gratitude go to Dr. Jim King. He h as been my professor, mentor and friend for many years starting in my M who encoura ged me to enter the doctoral program. He advised and cajoled, pushed and pulled, and was always there to suppor t and celebrate. Thank you for every step you took with me. I am eternally grateful. I would also like to thank the rest of my wonderful doct oral committee for your support and encouragement. Dr. Janet Richards Dr. Kath r y n Laframboise, and Dr. Darlene DeMarie; i t has been a pleasure to work with all of you, and I am honored to be one of your colleagues. Thank you also to my fellow graduate s tudents who helped me complete my program. Thanks to Diedre Allen, who worked tire lessly as a co rater of my data, along with James Welsh and Diane Kroger ; thank you all for your friendship and care. I cannot close this acknowledgement without thanking Faye Smith, retired principal of Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. Elementary School. It was she who gave me my first taste of teacher leadership, and her guidance was invaluable to me during the ten years I worked with her. Thank you, Faye; I appreciate your trust in me. Without y our push I might not have achieved this mileston e.
i TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES vi LIST OF FIGURES vii ABSTRACT i x CHAPTER ONE: RATIONALE AND CONTEXT FOR THE STUDY 1 Background 7 Title I 7 The No Child Left Behind A ct of 2001 (NCLB) 8 Ad equate Yearly Progress (AYP) 9 Restructuring 10 Research Questions 12 District Demographics 14 AYP in Bell County 15 Bell County Reading Plan 16 Chapter Summary 17 CHAPTER TWO : REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduct ion 18 Assessment and Accountability 19 Determining AYP 21 Safe Harbor 24 Growth Models 24 AYP in Different States 25 AYP in Florida 27 Restructuring 31 Differentiated Accountability 32 Reading Instruction and Achievement 34 Reading Instruction and Reading First 34 R eading Achievement in Florida 36 Just Read Florida! 38 Teachers 39 Highly Qualified Teachers 39 Professional Development 40 Efficacy 41 Benefits o f No Child Left Behind (2001) 43 Implementation of Reading Fi rst 43 Heightened Awareness of the Ne eds of Low Achieving Students 45
ii Criticism of Determining AYP 46 Unrealistic Goals 46 Inequity of Determining AYP 47 Disparity in Reporting AYP 48 Educator Responsibility 50 Impact on Literacy In struction 5 2 Chapter Summary 55 CHAPTER THREE: METHODS 56 Introduction 56 Research Design 57 Case Studies of Organizations 58 Theoretical Framework 59 Grounded Theory 59 E thnography as a Research Tool 60 Critical Discourse Analysis as a Research Tool 63 The Researcher 66 Reliability and Validity 67 Lim itations and Generalizability 68 Participants 69 Data Sources 69 Field Notes 69 Semi structured Interviews 71 Surveys 73 Procedure 75 Data Analysis 75 Interview Data Anal ysis 76 Survey Data Analysis 78 Field Notes Data Analysis 79 Chapter Summary 79 CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS 81 Introduct ion to Star Elementary School 81 Characterist ics of Star Elementary School 87 Participants 92 Classroom Visits 94 The Research Questions 94 Research Question 1: What are the Perceptions of Teachers Progress? 94 Students 97 Limit ed Educational Opportunities 97 Limited Oral Langua ge Skills 98 Student Misbehavior 100 Lack of Student Motivation 101
iii Parents 102 Low Socioeconomic Households 102 High Mobility Rate 104 Teachers 105 Lack of Tea cher Motivation 105 Teacher Attrition 106 Policy 108 Lack of Und erstanding of School Culture 108 I nterference with Instruction 111 Complicated Referral Process for Exceptional Stu dent Education Services 1 12 Su mmary of Research Question 1 114 Research Question 2: What are the Understandings of Teachers? Regardin g the Restructuring Process? 114 Teacher Understanding of Adequate Yearly Progress and Restructuring 114 Analysis of NCLB ( 2001) as Related to Adequate Yearly Progress and Restructuring 116 Analysis of Teacher Statements Regarding Understanding Adequate Yearly Progress and its Restructuring Consequence 123 Alignment of Assessments, Training, Mate rials, Cur riculum, and State Standards 125 Meeting Educational N eeds Associated with Reading 129 Closing the Achievement Gap 131 Holding Schools and Local Educational Agencies Responsible 134 Understanding what Constitutes AYP 134 Failure to Achieve AYP 135 Holding Teacher Accountable for Student Achievement 136 Providing Alternatives for Low Performing Schools 137 Distributing Targeted Resources 138 I mproving Accountability for Teaching and Learning 141 Providing Decision Making Authority and Greater Flexibility to Local LEAs and Teachers 143 Enriched/Accelerated Educational Program Resulting in Increased Instructional Time 145 Elevating the Quality of Instruction 145 Coordinating Services and Affording Parental Participation 147 Summary of Research Question 2 147 Research Question 3: What a re the Perceptions of Teachers R egarding the Restructuring Process? 148 Analysis of Staff Survey 151
iv Affective Impact 160 Instructional Impact 161 Analysis of Teacher Interview 163 Affective Impact 166 Instructional Impact 168 Summary of Research Question 3 170 Research Que Perceptions of the Restructuring Proces s Changed T heir Reading Instruction? 171 Change in Reading Block Structure 173 Change in Reading Curriculum 175 Change in Reading Instructional Strat egies 178 Summary of Research Question 4 182 Chapter Summary 181 CHAPTER FIVE : DISCUSSION 184 Introduction 184 Conclusions from the Current Study 188 Restructuring is Not the Issue 189 All Changes in Curriculum and Instruction Are a Result o f AYP Status 193 197 Reality vs. Perception of School Quality 205 Language 207 Mobility 208 Sub group Distribution 209 Implications 210 Teachers Must Be Included in the Reform Process 211 Teachers Must Be Included in Decisions Regarding Professional Development 213 Teacher Leadership Is a Necessary Component for Effective School Reform 218 Restruc turing Inverse Impact Theory 220 Recommendations for Further Research 221 Do Current Restructuring Practices Lead to Long Term AYP Improvement? 221 What Impact Do Teacher Lea ders Have on Long Term Academic Achievement in Schools Identified as in Need of Improvement? 223 Full Circle 223 REFERENCES 228 APPE NDICES 248 Appendix A: Statement of Purpose, Sec. 1001 NCLB (2001) 249 Appendix B: 2007 2008 Sta r Elementary School AYP Report 251
v Appendix C: 2008 2009 Sta r Elementary School AYP Report 252 Appendix D: Staff Survey 253 ABOUT THE AUTHOR End Pag e
vi List of Tables Table 1 Criteria for Tier Placement ............................ 11 Table 2 Bell County Student Demographics ................................ ............................ 14 Table 3 Bell County Teacher Demographics ................................ .............................. 15 Table 4 Consequences for Not Achiev ing AYP ( NCLB, 2001) ................................ 23 Table 5 FCAT Item Type by Subject and Grade Level (FLDOE, 2008, p 17) .......... 28 Table 6 Differentiated Accountability School Categories ................................ .......... 33 Table 7 Subgroups of Florida Students Meeting Grade Level Proficiency in Reading, 2007 ................................ ................................ ................................ 36 Tabl e 8 Improvement in FCAT Percentages Scoring At or Above Grade Level in Reading .......... ............ ................................ ................................ .................... 37 Table 9 Relevance of Data to Research Questions ................................ ..................... 76 Table 10 Responses to Staff Survey ................................ ................................ ............. 78 Table 11 Star Elementary School Population by Grade level ................................ ...... 88 Table 12 Star Elemen tary School Student Demographics ................................ ............ 88 Table 13 Star Elementary School Teacher Assignments, 2008 2009 (School Improvement Plan, 2009) ................................ ................................ ............... 89 Table 14 Teacher Longevity at Star Elementary School ................................ .............. 89 Table 15 Needs Assessment of From FCAT 2008 Test Data ................................ ....... 91 Tabl e 16 Necessary Math Proficiency Levels to Make AYP for the 2008 2009 School Year .... ................................ ................................ ................................ 91 Table 17 Necessary Reading Proficiency Levels to Achieve AYP for the
vii 2008 200 9 School Year ................................ ................................ ................ 92 Table 18 Study Participant s ................................ ................................ .......................... 93 Table 19 Indicators of Accomplishment from Statement of Purpose, Sec. 1001 NCLB (2001) ................................ ................................ ................................ 117 Table 20 Comparison of Categories Obtained from Secs. 1111 120A NCLB ( 2001) ................................ ................................ ................................ 119 Table 21 Matching Statement of Purpose, Secti on 1001, with Sections 1111 1120A .... ................................ ................................ ................................ 120 Table 22 Proficiency Level Gains by Subgroup, School Year 2007 2008 (Star SIP, 2008) ................................ ................................ .............................. 132 Table 23 ................................ ....................... 153 Table 24 Staff Survey, Reorganized into Agreement and Di sagreement Responses ... 153 Table 25 Staff Survey Reorganized by Years of Experience ................................ ........ 154 Table 26 Teachers Written Responses to Survey Questions ................................ ......... 157 Table 27 Themes Identified from Open ended Survey Responses ............................... 159 Table 28 Categories of Survey Comments ....... ................................ ............................ 160 Ta ble 29 Categories of Interview Statements ................................ ............................... 164 Table 30 Comparison of Survey Comments and Interview Statement ......................... 164 Table 31 Student Achievement in Reading and Math, School Years 2007 2008 and 2008 2009 (Star School Accountability Report, 2009) ................................ 206
viii List of Figures Figure 1. Staff Survey Reorganized by Years of E xperience ................................ ........ 155 Figure 2 Comparison of Survey Comments and Interview Statements in Percentages ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 166
ix PERCEPTIONS OF TEACHERS IN THEIR FIRST YEAR OF SCHOOL RESTRUCTURING: FAILURE TO MAKE ADEQUATE Y EARLY PROGRESS SHARON MOSER ABSTRACT The 2007 not m ade Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for five consecutive years entered into restructuring as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 My study examines the perceptions of teacher entering into their first year of school restructuring due to failure to achieve AYP Four research questions guided my inquiry: What are the re to make Adequate Yearly Progress? What are the understandings of teachers regarding the restructuring process? What are the perceptions of teachers regarding the restructuring process? and In what ways have their perceptions of the restructuring proce ss changed their reading instruction? perceptions of AYP and its restructuring consequences I applied g rounded theory, ethnography as a research tool, and critical discourse analysis as a rese arch tool to this organizational case study. Twelve teachers from Star Elementary School, a rural Title I elementary school in
x Central Florida s e rved as participants. I collected data using field notes, semi structured interviews, and surveys My analy sis of the data revealed while teachers placed blame on students, parents, and policy make rs, they also looked inwardly to their own shortfalls and contributions to AYP failure. Teachers understood the specific cons equences related to AYP failure and demo nstrated an understanding of data analysis of their student state test scores Teachers did not demonstrate an understanding that NCLB (2001) allows for teachers to be part of the decision making process regarding curriculum and instruct ion at their schoo l. T eachers also make AYP. My research supports the Restructuring Inverse Impact Theo ry: consequences of negativ ely impact that achievement due to the undermining of teacher efficacy.
1 CHAPTER ONE : RATIONALE AND CONTEXT FOR THE STUDY I am a teacher. In my teaching life I have experienced many moments of success. Some ca me in the daily moments of well constructe the pursuit of an advanced degree or receipt of an award. Looking back over my tea ching career I have exp e rienced many successes ba sed on hard work and perseverance toward specific goals Along with those mo ments of success, inevitably, ca me moments of failure. I have been blessed in that I have had to deal w ith little failure in my life The first episode of failure in my profess ional life was the most profound and came in my fourth year of teaching. I was displaced from my school because of unit reassignments. I was devastated. I attended that school when I was a child and was thrilled to gain a position there when I earned my teaching degree. But the feeling of failure did not arise from The continuing battle over what children would attend wh at school became so hostile it was decided by the school district all kindergarten through grade three student s would attend School Old (from which I was displaced), and all students grade four through six would attend School New
2 my new school To make m atters even more complex, School New had a Black principal. Many parents in m y rural s outhern community did not like or accept the leadership of a Black principal over their White children especially when she took away the option for parents to choose th School New was hated by many parents even though the majority of its staff came from School Old. Several of the teachers at School Old, in order to wish me well, gave me a bag of Oreos and a bottle of Afro Sheen when they sent me on my way. I already felt anxious about the move to School New. Now I felt like part of the joke. With great trepidation I began my new teaching assignment. As fate would have it, moving to School New became the turning point in my career and the beginning of many professional successes My new principal, a very smart woman and accomplished teacher, led me into the world of teacher leadership. She trusted me enough to place me on key committees in my school and district. She supported me throughout my Masters Degree program and celebrated with me when I achieved National Board Certification. I stayed with her until she retired. While I tri ed to remain in touch with my former colleagues at School Ol d, the relationships, for the most part, waned. A curricular de cision by School New distanced the relationships to a greater degree. The philos ophy of the two schools differed in regards to reading instruction. While School Old maintained the traditional approach of all students reading in grade level texts, School New adopted a school wide reading program in which students were placed in their instructional levels for reading. Each classroom teacher had two reading
3 groups: one on grade level and one bel ow grade level. E nd of year individual reading inventories (IRIs) identified each students reading level students came to School New to start third grade, a team from School New and I was part of that team, went to School Old each year to administer IRIs to their second grade students. their exiting second graders. In some cases, there were d determinations of how well their students read and IRI outcomes me following IRI administration. If IRIs determined students were reading at lower levels than the ir teachers per ceived, the teachers received the results with a combination of surprise, distrust, and feeling judged Parents were infuriated if their children scored below grade level and were to be placed in the associated below grade level text. Inte restingly, I do not remember one instance of parents being angry at any was turned on School New who, they already knew, was lead by an incompetent Black principal and staffed by mostly incompetent teachers. Obviously the reading team was level. I walked that ti ght rope for 10 years. I found myself in the unique position of being one of the few natives of my community who taught at School New. In a sense this gave me and a few other teachers, a gatekeeper status between the community and my school, and the gate swung both ways. Most parents liked me, and I was one of the fifth
4 grad Apparently by the time their children entered fifth grade they forgot I was one of the reading team that messed up their Except for one instance, parents never complained to administra tion about me nor were hostile parent conference s held My principal understood my acceptance by the community and used it to her a option was suspended for particular parents who worked well with her and whom she wanted to keep happy. All the while, School New was never accepted by my community even after discussing School New. Parents often asked me wh y I stayed at School New when positions ope ned at School Old or why I did not transfer to School Perfect located five miles north of my town I believed the curricular choices at my school to be of sound pedagogy and perceived the staff to be dedicated ed uca tors and talented instructors. I also had a good relationship with my principal, so there was little incentive for me to chan ge schools. To be honest, I kne w She trusted me and, frankly, left me alone to do my job. I appreciated that and did my job well. How could I make parents understand that School New was a good school with a dedicated staff? My defense of Scho ol New fell mostly on deaf ears. Then t he bottom fell out. A new requirement calle d Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) was implemented None of us at School New (excep t my principal of course) knew much about it or year and sho wing reductions in achievement discrepancies fo r minority, English
5 Language learners, students with disabilities, and students living in poverty gaps as well. But when our scores were posted in the newspaper, there was an asterisk by our name. advised them they could petition to move their children to since School New no longer qualified for that distincti on. School Old also failed to make AYP because they had no students in FCAT tested grades. By that time, grade five had moved from School New to the middle school and grade three moved in to take its place. Of course, School Old made it clear that failure to m ake AYP was not its fault. Its second graders did ju st fine before going to School N ew. I admit to being guilty of some of that same smugness when defendin g School New because we were an ot have as much impact as it previously did What the community did not know then, and probably does not know now, is that School New achieved AYP for total students in reading and math, for all White, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students in reading and math, and for English language learners in read ing for the 2004 05 school year: her last year as principal. Black students achieved proficiency in reading and math in 2003 04, but did not count the next year due to low numbers. Minority subgroups, the groups who traditionally do not meet achievement proficiency, flourished under he r leadership. Additionally, the percentage of students meeting high standards in reading, math, and
6 writing dropped (9%, 5%, and 5% respectively) as have the percentage of students making learning gains in reading and math ( 10% and 13%) and the lowest 25 th percentile of students making learning gains in reading ( 7%), since she retired (Florida Department of Education [FLDOE], 2008 d ). I am no longer directly in the world of AYP. I moved from my community to a new community when my youngest child gr aduated from high school. I was hired at a high achieving elementary school and taught there for three years before taking an educational leave to complete my doctoral program. Consequently, m y only direct a s a graduat e assistant becaus e I supervise d interns and visit ed schools dealing with the stigma of failin g to make AYP. However my former colleagues at School New live in that world every day. I listen to their stories of frustration and negotiations with failure as they navigate the bureaucracy of school reform. It is in this climate of perceived failure that thousands of teachers in Florida enter their classrooms every day. Title I schools that failed to achieve AYP for five years are now in the proc ess of res tructuring. For elementary teachers, each March looms as the next benchmark of failure or the dreamed of possibility of success as their students in grades three through five take the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT). To make the achievement of success even more difficult, the required percentage of student proficiency ne cessary to make AYP increases each year. Test data is disaggregated to the level wher e teachers know how many white and minority students, students living in poverty, LEP st udents and/ or ESE students must score at proficiency levels for their
7 schools to make AYP. Assessments in kindergarten and first grade identify future students at risk for third grade deficits. In school intervention programs as well as after school tu toring programs are in place to boost test scores. In the middle of it all, teachers How do these teachers perceive what is happening to them, their students, and their schools during restructuring AYP? What has been the impact of state and district interventions on instruction in their classrooms? This study attempts to answer these question s. Background Currently, Title I schools are the target schools for restructuring under NCLB (2001) ( Flor ida Department of Education [FLD OE], 2007 b ) This section addresses the impetus for school reform that culminated in legislation requiring schools to show accounta bility through test scores. Title I T he history of Title I can be traced to the Elementary and Second ary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 War on Poverty, the ESEA was signed into law, appropri ating federal money to states to improve the educational opportunities of disadvantaged children (Cross, 2004). Title I, the part of ESEA directly related to school children living in poverty and the federal funds intended to support those children, was t he largest section of the law. A formula
8 federal money to assist with the educational achievement of those students (Yell & Drasgow, 2005). In 1994, the ES EA was reautho rized as the Impro Schools Act (IASA). IASA not only allowed the federal government to allocate funding to schools serving economically disadvantaged students but also ignited standards based reform at the state and local level s The use o f performance standards for all students, not just those served by Title I, was included in the reauthorization of Title I legislation as part of the I ASA (Schwartz, Yen, & Schaffer, 2001). The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) In 1983, the publi cation of A Nation at Risk led to recommendations for schools to adopt higher and measurable standards for student achievement (Yell & Drasgow, 2005). This report, compiled by the Commission on Excellence in Education during the Re a gan administration, ass peers from other countries. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush met with the governors of all 50 states in the first National Education Summit. This summit resulted in the call for national strategies to address issues regarding public education (Cross, 2004). America 2000, legislation calling for six specific education goals, was signed into Educate Am erica Act which created the National Education Standards and Improvement Council. However, the Council was fraught with opposition in Congress due to its authority to approve or reject the academic standards put forth by individual states and was eventual ly disbanded (Yell & Drasgow, 2005).
9 In 2001, President George W. Bush announced that the ESEA would be reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act and would be the top priority of his administration. The most significant change was the institution of a time line for schools to meet specific academic criteria in reading and math in order to effectively close the achievement gaps related to race, ethnicity, language, and socioeconomic status (Cross, 2004). In 2002, President Bush signed the No Child Le ft Behind Act (NCLB) (2001) marking an increase in the role the federal government played in education. Along with increased funding (9% of every education dollar), NCLB (2001) increased the educational requirements of states, school districts and public schools (Bloomfield & Cooper, 2003). Among these mandates were the requirements for highly qualified teachers in every classroom, the use of research based instruction, the development of assessment tools that would enable teachers and administrators to make data driven decisions about instruction, and the development of methods for holding schools accountable for student achievement (Yell & Drasgow, 2005). As a result, all students are now te sted in grades three through eleven to d etermine if they make Adequate Y early P rogr ess (AYP) in reading and math (Bloomfield & Cooper, 2003). Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Under ESEA (1965) each state set its own goal s for academic proficiency resulting in a wide range of minimum standards and classification of sc hools in need of improvement (Olson & Robelen 2002 ). Originally there was no deadline for meeting state proficiency standards. Now, NCLB (2001) requires each state to determine the
10 levels of academic achievement that constitute AYP and report the progr ess of its students toward that goal through the use of annual statewide assessments ( Springer, 2008; Weiner, 2004; Yell & Drasgow, 2005). By the end of school year 2013 2014, a ll schools are required to meet 100% proficiency in reading and math for all s tudents as well as subgroups of students including race, students living in poverty, students with disabilities, and students with limited English language proficiency. To establish AYP targets, e ach state defined a baseline for measuring the percentage of students who me t or exceed ed state proficiency goals in both reading and math, then determine d how to measure adequate academic achievement (Port er, Linn, & Tr imble, 2006). States then cho se a spec ific trajectory to move from that baseline toward the 100% proficiency goal, the minimum number of students required for reporting a subgroup, and whether or not confidence intervals would be used when analyzing and reporting test data (Porter, Linn, & Trimble, 2006). Title I s chools that fail to make AYP fo r five years enter into restructuring (FLDOE, 2007 b ). Therefore, restructuring becomes the dreaded consequence. Restructuring Under NCLB (2001), schoo l restructuring may constitute a ) reopening the school as a public charter school, b ) repla cing most or all of its staff, c ) entering into a contract with a priva te entity to operate a schoo l, d ) turning the operation of the school over to a state ed ucational agency, and/or e ) making any other changes that make fundamental reforms that hold promise of enabli ng the school to make AYP.
11 In Florida, school restructuring requires schools to make fundamental changes to s accountability system (FLDOE 2007 b ). Once schools have been identifie d as in need of restructuring, schools must a ) ensure its students have the option to transfer to another public school that has not been identifie d as in need of restructuring, b ) ensure that supplemental educational services are avail able to eligible stu dents, and (c ) prepare a plan to implement changes in governance for the school. Parents must be notified of the restructuring plan (FLDOE, 2007 b ). The level of restructurin (FLDOE, 2007 b ). Schools failing to achieve AYP are assigned a tier level, with Tier I schools requiring the least inter vention while Tier VII require the most. The tiers initially developed for Florida schools are explained in the table below (FLDOE, 2007 b ) : Table 1 Criteria for Tier Placement Tier School Grade % Indicators Attained I A or B At least 90 II A or B 80 89 III C or C a nd improved and maintained at least one grade level At least 70 IV C or C and has not improved one grade level or has not maintained improvement Fewer than 70 V D Failed to meet state standards regarding AYP VI F and received no more than one grade of F in a four year period Failed to meet state standards regarding AYP VII F and have received more than one F in a four year period Failed to meet state standards regarding AYP
12 accounta bili ty model which is discussed in C hapter T wo During the 2007 08 sc hool year 2,514 schools (76%) in Florida did not achieve AYP, representing a 10% increase in Florida schools failing to make AYP when compared to 2006 07 scores (FLDOE, 2008 b ). Of thes e, 937 Title I schools (69 % of all Florida Title I schools) did not make AYP have been identified as Schools In Need of Improvement (SINI) Research Questions The 200 7 08 school year marked the first year Title I schools in Florida failing to achieve AYP for five years enter ed into restructuring. I wondered if there was any difference in those schools now than there had been during my ten ur e. I decided to talk to teachers about their experiences I conducted informal interviews with teachers at res taurants, church es What did teachers tell me about conversations with teachers who work in schools in restructuring I heard a variety of stories a nd comments. Some teachers sha red stories of frustration at the fact that one test score could determi ne how well students in their schools show ed progress. Others told me that their work environment beca me strained due to pressures to improve test scores. Many discussed how more req uirements regard in g instructional practices led them to work additional non contractual hours to get their jobs done. At the other extreme, when
13 T hese comments intrigu ed me. My conversatio ns with these teachers were neither structured n or did they provide any data on what assumptions could be mad e. The only way to get the real story was to spend time in a school during its restructuring. These experiences and my desi re to learn more led me to this study. Due to my previous experiences as a former Title I school te acher, my continued contact with colleagues from that school now in restructuring, and my doctoral studies focusing on reading instruction, I wanted to stu dy how teachers navigate the reform process and learn how restructuring affects reading instruction. My following research questions: 1. What are the perce Adequate Yearly Progress? 2. What are the understandings of teachers regarding the restructuring process? 3. What are the perceptions of teachers regarding the restructuring process? 4. In what ways have their perceptions of the restructuring process changed their reading instruction? To answer these questions, I first had to find out more about my former school district. The following section provides information regarding demographics, the cu r rent AYP status of the district s school s, and an o v erview of reading plan
14 District Demographics Bell County is a large, rural county in central Florida and is the eighth largest school district in the state Currently, more than 90,000 students attend Bell County schools and of those 46,000 are elementary school children (FLDOE, 2008 d ) There are 8 5 elementary school s in Bell County, 50 of which are Title I schools (Bell District Website, 2008) Sixty three languages representing 151 countries are spoken in the district. 2008 district data revealed the following subgroup percentages of Bell County students: Table 2 Bell County Student Demographics Subgroup Percent White 52.2 % Black 23 % Hispanic 21.7 % Asian/Pacific Islander 1.4 % Other 1.2 % American Indian/ Alaskan Native .20 % Economically Disadvantaged 58 % Bell County Schools employs over 6,000 teachers and is the largest employer in the county with almost 12,000 employees. The Florida Department of Education (2007) reported th e following demographics for Bell County elementary teachers:
15 Table 3 Bell County Teacher Demographics Subgroup Percent White 83.8% Black 10.2% Hispanic 5.4% Asian/Pacific Islander <1% American Indian/ Alaskan Native <1% AYP in Bell County Acco rding to the 2007 08 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Distric t Level Report (FLDOE, 2008 d ) Bell County did not make AYP for the 2007 08 school year The district met 74% of the necessary criteria for making AYP with fa ilure to meet state goals in a ) readin g proficiency of all students, b ) reading and math profi ciency of Black students, c ) reading pro ficiency of Hispanic stud ents, d ) reading and math proficiency of econom ically disadvantaged students, e ) reading and math proficiency of English language learne rs, and f ) reading and math proficiency of students with disabilities. This In Bell County 63 elementary schools failed to achieve AYP (43 Title I schools) during the 2007 08 sc hool year. Bell County Reading Plan The Bell County Schools Strategic Plan (2005) requires all schools to implement a balanced reading program at every grade level. Bell 12 Research Based Reading Plan (2008 a ) is
16 designed to improve students outcomes by addressing the essential components of effective reading instruction. Additionally, the district and school staff will support the use of scientifically, researched based reading instruction by providing quality professional development in t he essential components and the use of data analysis to drive instruction (p 5). All core, supplemental, and intervention reading materials must be scientifically research based as delineated in NCLB (2001) an uninterrupted 90 minute reading block in w hich whole and flexible group instruction occurs must be present, and additional reading in structional time must be provided for students identified as in need of immediate intensive intervention. Reading coaches receive and provide training in the five e ssential components of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension as delineated in NCLB (2001 ) and d ata analysis of assessments ( screening, progres s monitoring, diagnostic, and outcome). Implementation of the K 12 reading plan is monitored for fidelity at both the district a nd school levels In Bell County, program fidelity is monitored by site visitations of district personnel. D istrict intervention measures are implemented in schools not making a cademic improvement in reading as determined by FCAT score s, school grade, and AYP status The level of int Bell County School Strategic Plan 2005, p 5). Specific district interventions are discussed in Chapter T hree
17 Chapter Summary This chapter provided the rationale and background for my study of teacher s percepti ons of the restructuring process due to failure to achieve AYP for five years. My personal experiences, relationships with teachers in the restructuring process, and background in reading instruction provided the impetus for me to und ertake this research. Chapter T wo pr ovides review of the literature necessary to fully understand how schools arrived at their current AYP status and the steps they must take to be deemed high achieving.
18 CHAPTER T WO : REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Overview Chapter O ne discussed my rationale for undertaking this study. In order to explain why and how schools a re identified as in need of improvement and may enter into the restructuring process, an understanding of what NCLB (2001) legislation requires concerning student achievement is necessary. Chapter T wo provides an overview of NCLB (2001) requirements in re gard to accountability, determination of Adequate Yearly Progress, and Safe Harbor and Growth Model provisions in determining Adequate Yearly Progress. The determination of how Adequate Yearly Progress is achieved differs from state to state due to speci fic design decisions. A discussion of how design decisions can affect achievement of Adequate Yearly Progress is included. S ince data for this study were collected in a Florida school in restructuring, Fl analyzed. Flori based on specific school need, Differentiated Accountability, wa s also discussed. Adequate Yearly Progress in reading is necessary for schools to be considered high achieving. Reading First policy and its implications for reading instruction, as well (2001) requirements for highly qualified teachers are also addressed.
19 The chapter closes with a review of th e literature regarding support for NCLB (2001) criticism of Assessment and Accountability The call for ass essment and accountability in education is not a new phenomenon (Cross, 2004). Increased student enrollment in the early 20 th century, low literacy rates of soldiers in World War I, and the launch of Sputnik in 1957 lead to increased federal government in terest in education. Desegregation and the establishment of Title I in the 1960s led to the emergence of education as a national priority and led to the establishment of the Department of Education as a cabinet level position in the 1970s. The 1980s wer e influenced by reports that determined students in the United States were not achieving academically at the same rate as their international peers (Cross, 2004). In 1983, the publication of A Nation at Risk led to recommendations for schools to adopt hig her and measurable standards for student achievement (Yell & Drasgow, 2005), but measurement focused assessment policies resulted in an overemphasis on basic skills and excluded certain populations of students from testing (Buly & Valencia, 2002). In the 1990s, education initiatives focused on the development of high standards for all students and the development of assessment tools to determine if students were meeting those standards (G oetz & Duffy, 2003). It was determined that students could achieve a t a higher level, and the adults in charge of their learning would be held
20 accountable (Cross, 2004). Title I of the ( IASA 1994) required the development of high standards for all students in reading and math at each grade level, the tracking of student performance, and the identification of low performing schools. Subsequently, schools and school districts were held accountable for the achievement of their students. NCLB (2001) the improvement of stu dent achievement (Ryan, 2002, p 453) and further expanded state testing requirements (Goetz & Duffy, 2003). Part A Section 1111(b)(2)(B) of NCLB (2001) requires states to adopt challenging academic standards that specify what children the teaching of advanced skills. The section also requires the reporting of three achievement levels (basic, proficient, and advanced) that determi ne how well students master the content of the standards. States must also identify how they will establish and maintain a state wide accountability system that ensures all students make AYP toward the mastery of content standards. Accountability withi n NCLB (2001) is intended to ensure that all students receive a quality education, especially those attending schools identified as in need of improvement (Porter, Linn & Trimble, 2006). To do this, all states are required to identify and measure students rds and, subsequently, measure student progress in reading and math (Yell & Drasgow, 2005). NCLB (2001) requires by school year 2013 2014, 100% of schools meet student proficiency standards (Olson & Robelen, 20 02; Porter, Linn, & Trimble, 2006; Weiner &
21 Hall, 2000). Schools are accountable to report scores for students who have been enrolled for at least one full school year and those subgroups determined large enough to indicate statistically significant data. Schools may also combine scores from multiple grades and average scores for up to three years. It is expected that schools have increased about one half the necessary distance by school year 2008 2009 for schools to achieve 100% proficiency by 2014 (Pet erson, 2007). In this way, districts and schools are held accountable for the achievement of all students (Yell & Drasgow, 2005). Determining AYP AYP constitutes the minimum proficiency level of improvement in reading and math that all public schools must achieve each year (Yell & Drasgow, 2005). States must set annual targets for proficiency in order for schools to demonstrate AYP starting with the school year 2001 2002 baseline test scores (Olson & Robelen, 2002). All subgroups, including those who are economically disadvantaged, belong to major racial and ethnic subgroups, have been identified with disabilities, and/or h ave limited English proficiency must meet proficien cy targets. F ailure for one subgroup to meet the target results in failure to make AYP (Olson & Robelen, 2002; Porter, Linn & Trimble, 2006; Weiner & the minimum number of students required to populate a subgroup in order for it to count toward AY P (Olson & Robelen, 2002). NCLB (2001) requires states to show an increase in proficiency scores two years after the implementation of the law and every three years after that (Porter, Linn & Trimble, 2006). NCLB (2001) allows states to vary a ) the traj ectories set tow ard moving
22 toward proficiency, b ) the minimum number of students in a subgroup, and c ) whether or not confidence intervals will be used to determine if proficiency targets were met (Porter, Linn & Trimble, 2006). States establish ed an init ial AYP target for measuring the percentage of students meeting proficiency goals, with separate goals determined for reading and math (Porter, Linn & Trimble 2006). Initial targets were determined by calculating the performance scores in reading and math at the 20 th percentile in each state (Weiner & Hall, 2004). Subsequently, initial targets vary from state to state. Title I schools failing to make AYP proficiency goals for two consecutive years are identified as in need of improvement and must create a school improvement plan within which 10% of Title I funds will be spent on professional development for teachers (Porter, Linn, & Trimble, 2006; Weiner & Hall, 2004). These schools must notify send their children to alternate, high performing schools (Olson & Robelen, 2002). Districts are required to use part of their Title I funds to pay any transportation costs associated with moving students to high performing schools (Olson & Robelen, 2002 ). Schools missing proficiency goals for three years must also provide supplemental academic services for its students from low income families. Schools missing proficiency goals for four years are considered in corrective action and select specific meas ures to improve achievement. After five years of failure to achieve AYP, schools develop a restructuring plan that is implemented in the sixth year of missing proficiency goals (Porter, Linn & Trimble 2006). The table below illustrates consequences for each year that AYP is not achieved.
23 Table 4 Consequences for Not Achieving AYP (NCLB, 2001) Years Consequences 2 Create school improvement plan. Allocate 10% of funds for professional development. Notify parents of school choice option and p ay transporta tion costs for students to attend a choice school. 3 All of the above Schools must provide supplemental academic services to students from low income families. 4 All of the above Schools move into corrective action and s elect specific strategies to impro ve achievement. 5 All of the above Schools develop a restructuring plan. LEAs must choose one of the following corrective actions: replace staff, implement new curriculum, reduce management authority at school site, appoint an outside expert, extend the school year, or restructure the internal organization of the school 6 All of the above Schools enter into restructuring. LEAs must choose one of the following alternative governance arrangements: reopen the school as a charter school, replace all or most of the staff, contract with a private management company, turn the operation of the school to the state, any other major restructuring arrangement that makes fundamental reforms to improve student achievement. Before NCLB (2001) schools could be deemed high performing based on overall achievement levels without consideration of disaggregated data by targeted subgroups (Weiner & Hall, 2004). Now, the test score of one student can determine whether or not a school achieves AYP, and a single student can f all into more than one subgroup (Olson, 2002; Weiner & Hall, 2004). In 2002, more than 8,600 Title I schools failed to make AYP targets for two or more years (Olson & Robelen, 2002). In 2008, nearly 30,000 of all public schools in the United States faile d to achieve AYP, representing a 13% increase over the 2006 07 school year (Hoff, 2008).
24 Safe Harbor Part A Section 1111(b)(2)(I) of NCLB (2001) allows for the achievement of AYP if aggregated groups meet state objectives but one or more subgroups does not. The Safe Harbor provision is designed to help schools starting below initial AYP proficiency targets (Weiner & Hall, 2004) achieve AYP if subgroups show measurable gains. These at the proficient level by 10% from the previous year, even if the performance level is below the state 2004, p 15). Without the Safe H arbor provision, schools with initial proficiency goals below initial state targets would have little chance of ever making AYP due to the increased proficiency requirements re quired to do so. However, the Safe H arbor provision in a sense forestalls the inevitable failure of these schools due to the 100% proficiency r equirement in school year 2014. This reduction in non proficiency levels constitutes Safe Harbor. Growth Models Another measure used to level the playing field for schools starting below initial AYP proficiency targets is growth models. In 2005, the growth model pilot program was in stituted which allowed for the tracking of individual student progress over time to determine if students were on track toward proficiency even if currently falling below proficiency standards (Peterson, 2007; Weiss, 2008; Welner, 2008). Seven states, inc luding Florida, participated in the pilot program (Weiss, 2008). Ultimately, students
25 must meet fixed proficiency targets. For example, a third grade student fell below the proficiency target score on the end of the year test. S/he has both the fourth a nd fifth grade to reach proficiency goals for fifth grade. If the student is on track, according to gains on state assessments, that student counts toward achieving AYP even if his/her score is still below proficiency level. If at the end of fifth grade the student does not meet proficiency levels, s/he no longer counts toward achieving AYP (Weiss, 2008). AYP in Different States As stated above, states have different starting points for calculating AYP and are allowed flexibility in how they determine AYP targets from year to year. For example, in 2002, the initial targets for Iowa were 64% for math and 65% for reading, while the initial targets for Missouri were 8.3% in math and 18.4% for reading (Porter, Linn & Trimble, 2006). The number of schools reported as failing to achieve AYP varies widely from state to state. In 2002, Michigan reported 1,512 schools in need of improvement, the most in the United States, with California and Ohio in second and third place reporting 1,009 and 760 respectively (Olson & Robelen, 2002). Conversely, Arkansas and Wyoming reported all schools meeting AYP requirements. One reason for the variance across states rests in the degree in proficiency standards determined by design decisions adopted by each state. In 2007 43% because Massachusetts has one of the highest proficiency standards in the country, compared to Tennessee where only 7% of students failed to make AYP. Tennessee has one of the lowest proficiency standard s in the country (Peterson, 2007).
26 Porter, et al (2006) studied the variances of AYP design decisions among different states and the impact of those variances on meeting AYP. They compared fidence intervals to determine if design differences impacted achievement of AYP. Forty three out of fifty states use either a straight line with plateau trajectory or a back loaded trajectory. The straight line with plateau trajectory moves in a straight line but with equally placed stair steps at the required three year marks. The back loaded trajectory includes small initial step increases then larger steps toward the end, thus delaying larger increases until the years closer to 2014. NCLB (2001) allo ws states to specify the minimum number of students required in a subgroup before its data is used toward calculating AYP. The number required for reporting subgroups ranges from five to 100, with 40 and 30 representing the highest modes. The larger the minimum number of students required in a subgroup, the fewer subgroups required to be included in AYP calculations. In regards to confidence intervals, eleven states chose not to use confidence intervals. Of those states using confidence intervals, 14 c hose 95% (3 One Tailed) and 16 chose 99% (2 One Tailed). The larger the confidence interval, the more likely a school will meet AYP proficiency requirements. The combination of design choices results in substantial variances in AYP approaches from state to state. The researchers applied a combination of the different design models to Kentucky meeting AYP in 2003 and 2004 respectively. By manipulating trajectories, minimum number of students required for disaggregated subgroup accountability, and confidence
27 achieving AYP. Changing the minimum number of students per s ubgroup to 30 from 60 droppe d AYP proficiency to 84% and 89%, respectively. Dropping confidence intervals dropped AYP proficiency to 61% and 72%, respectively. Using the most stringent model of 30 per subgroup, no confidence interval, and a straight line trajectory would have resul ted in AYP proficiency results for 2003 at 31% and 2004 at 44%. For many states, the use of less challe nging design decisions still resulted in an increase in failure to make AYP (Hoff, 2008). California reported a 14% increase in schools failing to mak to 37% in 2008. AYP in Florida Beginning in January of 2003, all states were required to submit accountability plans to the U. S. Department of Education with revisions submitted annually ( NCL B State of Florida: Consolidated State Application Accountability Workbook for State Grants under Title IX, Part C, Section 9302 of the Elementary and Secondary Educati on Act (Public Law 107 110 ) (revised June, 2008 b ). grading program. Each year student progress is measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) (FLDOE. 20 08). Acc ording to FLDOE (2008 b )
28 The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) measures student performance on selected benchmarks in reading, math, writing, and science that are defined by the Florida Sunshine State Standards (SSS). Developed by Florida educat ors, the SSS outline challenging content students are supposed to know and be abl e to do. All public schools are expected to teach studen ts the content found in the SSS (p 1). FCAT test items differ between the content area tested and the grade level ass ociated tests (FLDOE, 2008 b ). The following table displays the types of questions appearing on reading, mathematics, writing, and science tests at each grade level: Table 5 FCAT Item Type by Subject and Grade Level (FLDOE, 2008 b p 17) Grade Reading Writ ing Mathematics Science 3 MC MC 4 MC, SR, ER WP, MC MC 5 MC MC, GR, SR, ER MC, SR, ER 6 MC MC, GR 7 MC MC, GR 8 MC, SR, ER WP, MC MC, GR, SR, ER MC, GR, SR, ER 9 MC MC, GR 10 MC, SR, ER WP, MC MC, GR, SR, ER 11 MC, GR, SR, ER MC=mul tiple choice SR=short response ER=extended response GR=gridded response WR=writing prompt/essay Multiple choice items are found in reading, mathematics, science and writing. Students choose the correct answer from either three (only in the writing tes t) or four possible choices and bubble their answers in a test booklet or answer sheet. Multiple
29 choice answers are worth one raw score point. Gridded response items are found in mathematics and science tests. Students solve problems or answer questions requiring a numerical response and mark their answers on response grids. Gridded response questions are worth one raw score point. Short and extended response items are found in reading, mathematics, and science tests. Students respond to items in thei r own words or show solutions to problems. Short response questions are worth one or two raw score points. Extended response questions are worth one, two, three, or four raw score points (FLDOE, 2008 b ). Students are tested in grades three through eleven, and achievement on FCAT is determined through the assignment of a test score. Test scores are categorized into five grade level are determined to be proficient (l evel 3) or above proficient (levels 4 5). Student scores in reading, writing, and math are used to determine school grades (A F). Aggregated and disaggregated scores as well as individual student scores are used to determine AYP. Schools failing to mee t AYP proficiency targets in the same content area for two consecutive years are designated as a School In Need of I mprovement (SINI) A school that meets state targets for reading and math in all subgroups, tests at least 95% of its students, and shows a n increase in other indicators of at least 1% harbor provision is also used to deter mine subgroup proficiency (FLDOE, 2008 e ).
30 In all, Florida has 39 components to its AYP model: 36 components by subgroup and three other indicators (graduation rate if applicable, writing proficiency, and the requirement for scoring A, B, or C in the sch ool grading system). In 2008, nearly 70% of Florida schools were identified as high performing through it A+ school grading program, yet only 24% of Florida schools achieve d AYP (FLDOE, 2008 b ). In 2007, Florida initiated its growth model pilot program. The model is explained as follows: The growth model is a new AYP calculation where each student within a subgroup with at least two years of assessment data will be included in the denominator for the growth calculation. The numerator will include any stu dent school or district will meet AYP for that subgroup if the percentage of students exce eds the current state annual measurable objectives (51 percent in reading and 56 per cent in mathematics in 2006 07) (FLDOE, 2008 c p. 24 ). Assessment in Florida links FCAT developmental scale scores (DSS) to FCAT test scores in order to track student prog ress over time. Using a four year plan, a student who failed to achieve proficiency levels on the FCAT can be determined to be making score, comparing it to the desired D SS in four years, and determining the amount of increase in DSS for each tested year is necessary to reach proficiency. If the student
31 meets or exceeds the required DSS benchmark over the next three years that student makes AYP each year. Starting points for Florida AYP calculations were taken from 2001 02 FCAT scores (FLDOE, 2008 e ). The starting point for reading was set at 31% and math at 38%. A straight line trajectory starting with scores from the 2003 04 school year is used requiring a seven percen tage point increase in reading and a six percentage point increase in math each year. For accountability purposes, the minimum number of students in each cell is 30. Scores are counted for students attending one full school year (second week of October t hrough the second week of February). Students test scores are reported using 48). Restructuring Title I schools failing to make AYP for five consecutive years enter into restructuring. Based on test scores for the 2007 08 school year, 3,559 schools (4% of all schools and twice as many for the 2006 07 school year) in the United States were designated as in restructuring (Hoff, 2007). The earliest experiences in the United States in reg ards to school restructuring are found in Michigan. Michigan began its accountability plan earlier than other states and began their restructuring processes i n the 2004 05 school year. Eigh ty five percent of its schools in restructuring achieved AYP with 20% of those schools maintaining AYP for two years (Education Digest, 2006).
32 California saw a 150% increase in the number of schools in restructuring since the 2005 06. The Center on Education Policy (2007) reported 11% of all California public schools in restructuring following the 2006 07 school year. During the same school year, only 5% of schools currently in restructuring raised their test scores enough to exit p 1) have been in restructuring for six or more year s. The CEP report also noted that California schools have gone beyond federal requirements to boost achievement, but many schools report non academic factors compromised their efforts. Differentiated Accountability Building on Results: A Blueprint for Str engthening The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (2007) called for a differentiated accountability system to distinguish between schools with different needs in meeting AYP (FLDOE, 2008 c ). Differentiated help schools meet A YP requirements (FLDOE, 2008 c p ated accountability model must a ) continue to determine which schools are in need of impr ovement according to AYP data, b ) categorize schoo ls accordingly, c ) state its systems of interventions, and d ) define the interventions for its lowest performing schools (those in restructuring). Florida is one of six states that received permission to develop its own differentiated accountability model (FLDOE, 2008 c ). In Florida, the differentiated accountability model is designed to identify schools LDOE, 2008 c p i). Its objectives are designed to a ) p rovide more
33 assistance for s chools at or in restructuring, b ) provide targeted support for schools not yet in restructuring but identified as in need of improvement, and c ) provide support for school previously in restructuring but have exited due to impr o vement. Title I Schools In Need of Improvement (SINI) are separated into two groups: those planning for restructuring and those already in restructuring. The two groups are differentiated based on a combination of school grade and AYP criteria met. Of the 273 identified as Category II schools, 24 were identified as in critical need of support and intervention. The classifications of SINIs are shown in Table 6. Table 6 Differentiated Accountability School Categories 2006 07 SINIs Category I (As, Bs, & Cs and Ungraded with at Least 80% Criteria Met Category II (Schools with Less Than 80% Criteria Met, and All Ds & Fs) a SINI Prevent (Years 1 3) General Strategies and Interventions 416 Focus planning on missed elements of AYP. 85 Implement comprehensive s chool improvement planning. SINI Correct (Years 4+) General Strategies and Interventions 248 Focus reorganization of missed elements of AYP. 188 (164+24) Reorganize the school. SINI Intervene (Most Critical) General Strategies and Interventions 24 Restr ucture/Close the school. a Categorical headings are taken directly from FLDOE documents. Variances are not from my summarization of the information. For each classification, specific support services and interventions, including benchmarks to measure pro gress and consequences for non compliance, are defined.
34 Reading Instruction and Achievement Sec 1201(4) of NCLB (2001) outlines the purposes of Subpart I of Part B Student Reading Skills Improvement Grants. Th e purposes of this subpart are a ) to provi de assistance in establishing reading programs for kindergarten through grade three that are based on scientif ically based reading research, b ) provide assistance in preparing teachers through professional devel opment in reading instruction, c ) provide ass istance in selecting or developing reading instructio nal materials and assessments, d ) provide assistance to teachers in implementing instruction in the essent ial components of reading, and (e ) strengthen coordination among schools, early literacy programs and family literacy programs. This assistance is provided through the establishment of Reading First Reading Instruction and Reading First As a result of data regarding poor reading achievement of American children in general and minority and disadvan taged children specifically, Reading First was created NCLB 2007). Reading First was designed to ensure states and school districts received the resources necessary to deliver quality research based reading instruction to all students to the instructional component of Reading First, monetary assistance is available to schools in order to meet Reading First objectives.
35 Reading First, authorized under Title I, Part B of NCLB (2001), was established to ensure that states, and their local school districts, would receive assistance to implement research based reading programs for students in grades kinderg arten through based practices and provide assistance to schools that have low reading test scores and high poverty rates (Edmodston, 2004; International Reading Association [IRA], 2000 ). Additio nally, $900 million per year was allocated in order for states to receive competitive grant money so they can provide training to teachers and identify students at risk for reading failure (McLester, 2002). Under Reading First guidelines, all teaching met hods and materials must be based upon scientifically based reading research (McLester, 2002; USDOE, 2007). Following the recommendations of the National Reading Panel (2000), all children must be explicitly taught the five essential components of reading: 1. Phonemic Awareness: the ability to hear and manipulate phonemes 2. Phonics: the ability to understand and detect predictable patterns and relationships between phonemes and graphemes 3. Vocabulary Development: the ability to store and retrieve th e meanings and pronunciations of words 4. Reading Fluency: the ability to read text quickly, accurately, and with proper expression
36 5. Reading Comprehension: the ability to understand and communicate what has been read. All programs that incorporate in struction in the five essential components of reading must meet the criteria of scientifically based reading research. To meet this criteria, all materials and strategies related to the development and instruction of reading as well as the identification of reading difficulties must be based on research that a ) employed sy stematic experimental methods, b ) included rigorous data analysis to test a hypothesis, c ) included multiple meas ureme nts and observations, and d ) was accepted by a peer reviewed journal approved by independent experts in the field (USDOE, 2002). Reading Achievement in Florida Table 7 displays subgroup percentages and grade level proficiency in reading of b ): Table 7 Subgroups of Florida Students Meetin g Grade Level Proficiency in Reading, 2007 Subgroup Percentage of all Florida students Percentage At or Above Grade Level in Reading FCAT, 2008 Grades 3 10 White 46.71% 71% Black 23.15% 41% Hispanic 24.24% 54% Students with Disabilities 14.7% 30% Eng lish Language Learners 11.8% 27%
37 Table 8 presents the increase in percentages of student at or above grade level in grades three, four, and five. Table 8 Improvement in FCAT Percentages Scoring At or Above Grade Level in Reading Grade Level 2001 2002 20 03 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 3 57 60 63 66 67 75 69 72 4 53 55 60 70 71 66 68 70 5 52 53 58 59 66 67 72 67 Florida reports the following progress in closing the achievement gap for students in minority groups (FLDOE, 2008 b ): 1. T he percentages between w hite and African American students scoring on grade level in reading have narrowed from 2001 to 2007 by four percentage points. 2. The percentages between white and Hispanic students scoring on grade level in reading have narrowed from 2001 to 2007 by six per centage points. 3. in closing achievement gaps between white and both African American and Hispanic students.
38 Just Read Florida Just Read Florida! was initiated under Executive Order 01 260 (2001) by Governor Jeb Bush in response to the academic achievement demands of NCLB (2001) Designated as a comprehensive reading initiative designed to ensure all children become successful readers, Just Read Florida! was instituted in conju nction with the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Board of Education to coordinate with Reading First to make recommendations regarding effective reading materials and instruction for Florida schools. Each school district is required to writ e a Comprehensive Research Based Reading Plan in order to receive funds available through the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) which was instituted in 2006 to make reading a priority in Florida and ensure that reading is funded annually as part of the public school funding formula (FLDOE, 2008 a ). To receive funding, ea a ) the initiative is guided and supported by d istrict and school leadership, b ) decision maki ng is driven by data analysis, c ) targeted professional dev e lopment for teachers as determined by analysi s of student performance data, d ) measurable student achievem ent goals are established, and e ) research based materials and strategies match student needs. Districts must provide reading/literacy coaches to sc hools that have the greatest need based on student achievement data and administrator/faculty expertise in reading instruction. The specifics for classroom reading instruc tion were addressed in Chapter O ne.
39 Teachers Reading teachers have a direct impact on student reading achievement and motivation (IRA, 2000). Congress recognized the need for highly qualified teachers in Title I schools and included provisions for the identification of such teachers in NCLB (2001) (Yell & Drasgow, 2005). Highly Qualif ied Teachers Section 1119(a)(1) and (2) of NCLB (2001) require that all teachers hired after the enactment of the law be highly qualified, and that all teachers teaching core academic subjects in Title I schools are highly qualified no later than the end of school year 2005 06. Section 9109(23)(A) defines a highl y qualified teacher as one who a ) holds full state certification or passed the State teacher licensing examination and has a li cense to teach in the State or b ) is a teacher new to the profession elementary school curriculum. Elementary school pass the required state licensing test that demonstrates subject knowledge in curri 46). States are required to monitor all current teachers to ensure they meet the highly qualified requirements (Yell & Drasgow, 2005). They must also submit plans to the U. S. Department of Education documenting annual increases of teachers who are highly qualified (100% required by the end of the 2005 06
40 school year) and demonstr ate that teachers are receiving high quality professional development grounded in scientifically based reading research. Professional Development Supporting teacher learning is critical to the success of educational reform (Gabriele & Joram, 2007). Titl e I schools identified as in need of improvement must use 10% of their Title I funds to provide professional dev elopment for their teachers Sec. 9019(34)(A) of NCLB (2001) defines professional development as activities that a ) improve and increase teach nowledge of academic subjects, b ) are integral parts of scho ol/district improvement plans, c ) provide skills so teachers can help students meet c hallenging academic standard s, d ) improv e classroom management skills, e ) lead to a positive and lasting impact on student learning, f ) are not on e day or short term workshops, g ) support the hiring and training of highly qualified teachers, and h ) advance teacher understanding of effec tive instructional strategies, i ), are aligned with state standards and cu rr icula tied to those standards, j ) are developed with participation from teachers, principals, parents, a nd administrators of schools, k ) give teachers of ELL students the knowledge and skills to teach that population of students, l ) provide training in t echnology that improves teaching and learni ng in core academic subjects, m ) are regularly evaluated for effectiveness, n ) provide training in instruction of students w ith special needs, o ) provide instruction in the use of data and assessment that info rm classroom instruction, and p ) provide instruction in ways for teachers, school personnel, and administrators to more effectively work with parents.
41 In addition, Title I funds may be used to deliver professional development that a ) involves forming partners hips with ins titutions of higher education, b ) create programs for paraprofessionals currently working with Title I teachers to complete requireme nts for teacher li censure, and c ) provide follow up training for teachers who completed professional developme nt as authorized under NCLB ( 2001). Efficacy For NCLB (2001) to have its desired effect, teachers must believe a efficacy of NCLB as mandated policy 65), and b ) the development and implementation of plans to promote increased student achievement across all disaggregated groups will lead to attainable goals (Evans, 2009). pedagogical practi 61). Levels of t eacher self effic acy are directly related to student achievement and motivation, teacher effectiveness, classroom management skills, value of educational innovations, and teacher stress (Evans, 2009; Fives, Hamman, & Olivarez, 2006; Gabriele & Joram, 2007; Hawkins, 2009; H oy, Hoy, & Kurz, 2008). Bandura, (1997) defines teacher collective sense of efficacy as the ability of a group to believe that the collective power of the group will lead to increase student achievement through the groups willingness to set challenging go als and expend the effort to meet those goals. He identified four sources of self efficacy beliefs: mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and is more important than the performance itself in the development of self efficacy. When
42 teachers believe they can affect student learning they are willing to set higher goals for their students and work harder to achieve those goals (Hoy, Hoy, & Kurz, 20 08). Efficacy is a ffected by school environment, community expectations, student population, and personal expectations (Evans, 2009). The time differential in adopting new practices and seeing the desired effects may not give teachers the necessary reinfo rcement to promote efficacy resulting in the discontinuation of new practices, so teacher efficacy may erode when previously successful practices are replaced with reform mandated practices (Gabriele & Joram, 2007). Additionally, school status has a direc s in policy mandates as well as their collective sense of efficacy in achieving the goals of that policy (Evans, 2009), and t eachers who work in low performing, high minority, poor schools tend to have low levels of self efficac y (Evans, 2009). Within certain school organizations, teachers do not feel efficacious in their abilities to close achievement gaps and do not relate we ll with, and often do not feel responsible for, the problems associated with the education of children of color and/or disadvantaged children. Regardless of the mandates of federal, state or district policy, a highly qualified, high performing, efficacious teacher is central to the academic success of his or her students. The intent of NCLB (2001) was t o provide the backing of the federal government, both legally and financially, to ensure teachers can attain the goal of adequate yearly progress for all students. The benefits of NCLB (2001) are discussed below.
43 Benefits of No Child Left Behind (2001) NC LB (2001) impacted education as never before with its mandates to improve reading achievement and ensure a high quality education for all students, especially those living in poverty and attending low performing schools. The implementation of Reading Firs t brought a new focus to reading instruction and federal dollars to fund that focus. Implementation of Reading First After the authorization of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Reading First became the clearinghouse for reading policy and billions of dollars in education funding in the United States. Data released by the U. S. Department of Education highlights the Data released by the USDOE indicate Reading First schoo ls reported a 16% increase in reading fluency proficiency standards among first graders, a 14% gain for second graders, and a 15% gain for third graders between 2004 and 2006 (USDOE, 2007). West Virginia Reading First schools reported 100% of its LEAs ma de at least five percentage point gains in reading fluency in grades one through three, as did through 2007 (USDOE, 2008). Additionally, first and third graders in Readi ng First schools meeting or exceeding fluency proficiency on Reading First outcome measures increased 14% and 7% respectively (USDOE, 2007).
44 In Reading First schools (USDOE, 2008) nearly every grade and subgroup of students made increases in comprehensi on proficiency. 44 out of 50 (88%) State Educational Agencies ( SEAs ) reported increases in comprehension proficiency of their first grade students. In second and third grades, 39 of 50 (78%) and 27 of 35 (77%) SEAs reported improvement respectively. For English Language Learners in first, second, and third grade, 28 of 37 (76%), 25 of 37 (68%), and 17 of 25 (68%) SEAs reported increases in comprehension proficiency respectively. For Students with Disabilities, 34 of 44 (72%), 30 of 48 (63%), and 25 of 3 2 (78%) SEAs reported increases in comprehension proficiency for their respective first, second, and third grade students. Secretary Margaret Spellings applauded Reading First efforts in helping to achievement (USDOE, 2008). The Reading First Impact Study: Interim Report (2008) focused on 17 school districts across 12 states for the 2004 2005 and 2005 2006 school years to determine if Reading First had impacts on student reading comprehension and te scientifically based reading research practices. The Study found that teachers in Reading First schools increased instructional time in the five major components of reading. Schools receiving Reading First grants later in the funding proce ss (in the year 2004) showed significant impacts on the time first and second grade teachers spent on instruction in the five components of reading as well as first and second grade reading comprehension scores.
45 Heightened Awareness of the Needs of Low Ac hieving Students Along with a mandate for improved reading instruction for students NCLB (2001) required that all students, especially minority students, those living in poverty and students with disabilities achieve at the same levels as their historicall y successful peers Before NCLB (2001) many schools were considered high performing, yet large percentages of specific population s such as poor and minority students did not meet proficiency goals or make adequate progress toward those goals (Smith, 2005) To ensure equitable instruction to all populations of students, NCLB (2001) requires that 100% of students reach proficiency goals in reading and math by the year 2014. NCLB (2001) resulted in a growth of $2.23 billion in federal school spending. The federal government is involved in the daily operations of schools as never before, is committed to the achievement of all students, and requires all states to set standards and report how well all students are achieving in the areas of reading and math (B loomfield & Cooper, 2003 ; McCarthey, 2008 ). For the first time, states are required to create assessments that are compatible to state educational standards and implement a system for recording and reporting student progress including data disaggregated by ethnicity, socioeconomic status and disabilities NCLB (2001) also includes the private sector into public education in that national testing companies are providing criterion referenced tests tied to specific state standards and tutoring support to n eedy children. While the benefits of NCLB (2001) have been touted by many, others criticize the law for setting unrealistic goals, treating low income schools inequitably, enabling a disparity in the reporting process and placing blame for poor student a chievement on
46 educators. This debate has forestalled the reauthorization of NCLB (2001) and led to a $600 billion cut in Reading First funding ( Manzo, 2008 ). From congress to classrooms NCLB (2001) is the topic of much discussion. Criticism of Determinin g AYP The intent of determining AYP was to establish what constitutes adequate student achievement and whether or not schools are accomplishing this goal (Peterson & West, 2006). Many argue that NCLB (2001) has done little to improve achieveme nt (Granger 2008; Lewis, 2007 b ), especially the achievement of high school students (Balfanze, Legters, West, & Webber, 2007; Peterson, 2007), and c riticisms of NCLB (2001) and the ways in which AYP is determined are widely documented. The following section discuss es what many researchers consider to be flaws not only in determining AYP, but in the concept that AYP can accurately be measured at all. Unrealistic Goals Critics of NCLB (2001) in regards to AYP requirements, argue that that schools are destined to fail due to the unrealistic pace schools must set to meet the required 100% proficiency goals for reading and math by 2014 (Hoff, 2008). While small annual increases are feasible (Schwartz, 2001), e xpecting 100 percent proficiency is unrealistic, even by glob al standards. Singapore, the highest scoring nation on the NAEP math test, only reported a 73% proficiency rate (Peterson, 2007). The expected gains required for United States schools, especially those identified as in need of improvement, are higher tha n any achievement record in the United States or seen in other countries (Hoff, 2008).
47 While the Safe Harbor provision helps protect these schools from the inherent failure of meeting NCLB (2001) standards, that protection is short term due to the 100% pr oficiency requirement by 2014. Inequity in Determining AYP S chool population impacts AYP. Historically, schools with high performing student populations (white, non poverty students) make AYP (Peterso n, 2007; Schwartz, 2001). Yet schools with initially l ow performing students, even when those students make gains exceeding schools that achieved AYP, are still deemed failing (Balfanze, Legt ers, West, & Webber, 2007). Kr e i g & Storer (2002) analyzed the test scores of all third, sixth, and ninth grade studen ts attending Washington state schools from the 2001 2002 school year to determine if outcomes on standardized tests were indicative of the differences in schools achievin g or failing to achieve AYP were associated with student characteristics rather than policy choices. NCLB (2001) focuses only on impacts on student achievement within classrooms Berliner (2006) argues that outside of school experiences, especially for children living in poverty, have a direct effect on classroom experiences for a variety of reasons: a) p overty in the United States is greater and of longer d ur ation that other ri ch nations, b) p overty is associated with below level academic achievement, especially in u rban areas, c) a cademic performance is more greatly impacted by s ocial than by genetic influences, d) i mpoverished youth suffer from more medical afflictions than th eir middle class peers
48 which has a dire ct imp act on school achievement, and e) s mall reductions in family poverty lead to positive increases in school behavior and higher academic achievement. Berliner explains that the poorest children in the United State s come to school with little or no school like experiences for their first five years of life. Even after starting school, these children only spend one fifth of their waking lives in school while the other four fifths are spent in their neighborhoods and with families. Poor families are ill equipped to help their children meet the demands of classrooms that require them to assimilate into the school community, behave appropriately in the school setting, get along with their peers, and achieve academi call educational efforts that focus on classrooms and schools, as does NCLB (2001) could be reversed by family, could be negated by neighborhoods, and might well be subverted or minimized by what happens to school children out 951). Disparity in Reporting AYP The federal role in education is determined by states resulting in 50 testing systems, sets of standards, accountability systems, and determinations of AYP (Peterson, 2007; Shannon, 2007). As discussed earlier in this chapter, states use a variety of decision designs for determining AYP, so a student deemed proficient in one state may not be found proficient in another (Peterson, 2007). Additionally, states and their schools (2001) ac countability model even though they started at different achievement levels (Shannon, 2007).
49 argue that the improvements of individual children, not subgroups, tell the story of effectiveness in schools (Hall, 2007; Peterson, 2007). Florida is one of the few states that can track individual student achievement but only if its students are continuously enrolled in Florida schools (Peterson & West, 2006). Choi, Seltzer, Hermann & Yamashiro (2007) found that measuring individual student gains resulted in different determination of proficiency achievement than the AYP subgroup model. In some cases, schools deemed meeting AYP targets showed large gains for above average students but below average students making little progress. Conversely, some schools making AYP showed below average students making adequate gains but above average students showing very small gains. The differences in reporting individual student scores versus subgroup scores when added to the different accountability models used by different states allows for innumerable ways to determine whether or not schools are actually making academic progress. Florida, considered a model of education policy reform, has no t shown a significant rise in NAEP scores since the authorization of NCLB (2001) (Shannon, 2007). Peterson & West (2006) found when comparing pairs of schools in Florida, one making AYP and the other not, 30 percent of the time students in the school maki ng AYP did not model calculations have also come under scrutiny. In 2007, Education Week reported of the growth
50 inaccurate. Florida projected a linear progression of 200 DSS points on the state assessment indicated growth on track toward proficiency levels. However, Fl scale scores indicated that students e smaller learning gains during their school progression. Subsequently, many students were identified as on target to reach proficiency w hen in actuality they were not ( We iss, 2008). Educator Responsibility No Child Left Behind has positioned teachers as part of the problem with failure to achieve AYP (Shannon, 2007). Section 1116(8)(B)(iii) of NCLB (2001) identifies one alternate governance arrangement for schools in res eplacing all or most of the school staff (which may include the principal) who are relevant to the failure to make NCLB (2001) argue that if teacher quality was higher, students would be learning mo re and reaching greater proficiency levels in reading and math (Rothstein, 2008). If teachers challenge this assumption they appear to 6). According to Berliner (2005) there is no evidence tha t teachers were not highly qualified before NCLB (2001) Evidence of student lea rning is one measure of quality, but according to NCLB (2001) teachers can be deemed highly qualified before they ever set foot in a classroom. Observational evaluation of t eacher quality is time and money intensive, and current methods of testing teacher quality do little to identify how teachers actu ally perform in the classroom.
51 NCLB (2001) has also resulted in nega relationships with thei r students, their classroom practice, and their professiona l well 208). In order to spend more time in reading and math, teachers reduced the amount of instructional time allotted for science and social studies (Rothstein, 2008). Jennings, 2006, p 757) occurs as close to proficiency goals (Boother Jennings, 2006; Rothstein, 2008, p 15; Springer, 2008). In this way, Boother Jennings (2006) suggests that the incentive to make AYP Because of the focus on students at risk for reading failure, high achieving students are not given equal educational time. Finn & Patrilli (2008) reported three fifths of teachers surveyed reported low achievers as their top priority, where only 25% placed high achieving students in that category. Additionally, 85% of teachers surveyed reported struggling students get one on one attention everyday, where only 5% reported giving advanced students the s ame opportunity. Lewis (2007 a ) reported high achieving low income students are neglected by NCLB (2001) because the 73) their low income peers for resources provided through NCLB (2001) NCLB (2001) pass/fail accountability system allows high achieving students to do little or nothing to meet proficiency levels (Peterson, 2007). These outcome s are at odds with the demand following the launch to their highest potential.
52 The Thomas B. Fordham Institute released High Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB (2008) to compare the achievement of low and high achieving students as reported b y NAEP. The study determined a) w hile low achieving students made gains, high achieving stu de b) t his pattern was associated with the introduction of educational accountability systems (before and after NCLB (2001) ), c) t eache rs are more likely to identify the achievement of struggling students as a priority ov er their high achieving peers, d) l ow achieving students recei ve more attention from teachers, e) t eachers believe all students deserve equal attention, and f) l ow income black, and Hispanic high achievers (8 th grade) were more likely to be taught by experienced teachers than low achievers in the same subgroups. The report did not determine a causal link between NCLB (2001) and these findings, only that their findings wer e associated with the onset of NCLB (2001) or those of state accountability systems. Impact on Literacy Instruction Since the establishment of Reading First, billions of federal dollars have been awarded in the form of Reading First grants to assist schoo ls in implementing instruction in the essential components of reading. Reading First completed its sixth year of implementation in the 2007 2008 school year. An executive summary published by the United States Department of Education (2006) found that te achers in Reading First schools increased instructional time in the five major components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. However, the study found
53 no statistically significant difference in student reading achievement in Reading First schools when compared to non Reading First schools. Critics of Reading First provide a variety of reasons for this outcome including: 1. The National Reading Panel deemed phonemic awareness instruction beneficial for reading disab led second through sixth graders. The Panel determined explicit phonics instruction did not have a significant effect on low achieving second through sixth graders, yet phonics instruction is required by Reading First as an effective strategy for older, s truggling readers (Allington, 2004). 2. The highest levels of comprehension are found in students who read quickly and accurately, process phrases rather than individual words, and read with prosody focus on speed and accuracy required to show gains in fluency assessments has lead teachers to focus on those two components of fluency at the expense of prosody (Rasinski, 2006). 3. For struggling readers to be successful, there must be teaching of readin g, not only in the reading block but across all content areas in a connected fashion throughout the day (Pressley, Gaskins, Solic, & Collins, 2006). Likewise, vocabulary instruction must be taught across the curriculum and in multiple contexts, especially for struggling readers and students from disadvantaged backgrounds (Beck & McKeown, 2007). The Center of Education Policy (2007) found in order to increase instructional time in reading, 44% of school districts
54 studied cut instructional time in other con tent areas such as science and social studies. 4. The Reading First 90 minute reading block only allows for matching instructional rehension performance is maximized when reading instructional lev el texts (Allington, 2004; Torgesen, 2000). Continuous placement in frustration level texts leads to student frustration and failure (Tripplet, 2004), and these students are not granted the same opportunities as their more able peers to read and comprehend texts independently. Under the current education policy view, student literacy achievement can be improved with the implementation of challenging standards and a ccountability systems. This led to the teaching of discrete skills in decoding and comprehension, product versus process in writing instructio 220) in selection of materials and grouping of students (Buly & Valencia, 2002). Additionally, high st akes reading (Allington, 2004; Buly & Valencia, 2002, p reading achievement failures are to be found in similar instructional inter ventions. Classroom practice for beginning readers has been redesigned with a focus on phonics, yet assessment of students focuses on comprehension. Teachers are now faced with policy demands that conflict with pedagogical practice.
55 Chapter Summary Chap ter T wo provided a revie w of the literature that informed this study. An overview of NCLB (2001) requirements in regard to accountability, determinations of decisions can aff restructuring necessary based on specific school need, Dif ferentiated Accountability, was discussed Reading First policy and its implications for reading instruction, as well as (2001) requirements for highly qualified teachers were also addressed. The chapter closed with a rev iew of the literature regarding the benefits associated with NCLB (2001), criticism of how Adequate Yearly Progress is determined and its impact on teachers and students.
56 CHAPTER THREE : METHOD The 2007 2008 school year marked the firs t year Title I schools that did not made Adequate Yearly Progress (AY P) for five consecutive years enter ed into restructuring. Subsequently, there is little research regarding the experiences of teachers during the restruc turing process. Chapter T hree provide s an explanation of how schools achieve AYP, the research questions to be answered, the theoretical framework for the ended surveys, semi structured interviews, and field notes of teacher observations I obtai n ed perceptions and understandings of the restructuring process. Introduction Since the authorization of t he No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, schools report yearly test data to determine whether or not AYP was achieve d. For elem entary schools, these data are derived from third, fourth, and fifth grade test scores in reading and math. If schools do not achieve the annual predetermined percentages for proficiencies in reading and math, they do not achieve AYP. Every year the pr oficiency percentage levels that constitute AYP increase in order to meet the goal of 100% proficiency in reading and math by the year 2014. T he 2007 2008 school year marked the first year for implementation of restructuring in Florida under NCLB (2001) requirements so research in this area is sparse. This study provide s an initial understanding of one Florida
57 perceptions of the restructuring process. Within the context of their teaching lives, riences, bot h positive and negative, are shared. My initial research questions we re: 1. Adequate Yearly Progress? 2. What are the understandings of teachers regarding the restru cturing process? 3. What are the perceptions of teachers regarding the restructuring process? 4. In what ways have their perceptions of the restructuring process changed their reading instruction? Research Design The purpose of this study is to gain insigh its restructuring consequence s In order to more thoughtfully study their responses, a qualita tive approach to this research wa s productive. The qualitative researcher studies social settings and the people within those social settings (Berg, 2007). By using qualitative data sources, I studied the words a nd actions of teachers during their daily routines and after our conversations. Due to my personal experiences relative to the participants of the study, I adopt ed and capitalizes upon the similar experience and knowledge that a researcher brings to a study. This experience and knowledge, while related iences, wa s
58 also recognized as different from it and provided the opportunity for me to listen and observe, with some distance, while sharing the research experience with participants Case Studies of Organizations A case study approach attempts to gath er information about a person, social setting, or organization (cases) in order to systematically investigate and describe such participants (Berg, 2007). The organization and analysis of the cases result in a product, or case study (Patton, 2002). Case studies are recognized as valuable in informing practice because they provide in complexities and relationship of one instance of a pheno 3). Case studies of organizations re quire the systematic collection of data abou t a particular organization and provide the researcher with enough information to gain insight into the members of that organization (Berg, 2 the boundaries of the organization being studied defines the study rather than the content of the study being defined by a research .7). Design of this type of case study requires research questions, a theoretical framework, identification of units of analysis, linking of data to the theory, and criteria for interpreting the findings (Berg, 2007). This design matched my research interest since the organization (an elementary school) provided units of study (teachers) who co uld answer my research questions within my theoretical framework.
59 Theoretical Framework Grounded Theory The purpose of this study wa s to understand the perceptions of teachers in one Titl e I school who are currently in restructuring due to failing to a chieve Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for five years. Since the 2008 2009 school year was only the second year of restructuring for Fl s little prevailing theory regarding the perceptions of teachers undergoing the restruct uring process. In order to allow a theory to evolve, I applied grounded theory to this study. Grounded theory focuses on inquiry that allows for theory to develop from the data that are collected (Patton, 2002). In contrast to hypothesis testing, groun ded theory is hypothesis making (Glaser, 2004). Additionally, grounded theory produces theory that questioned throughout the process of its generation (Berg, 2007, p 286). Theory emerges as the resea rcher codes responses and analyzes data The goal of the researcher is to remain open to the emergence of patterns, not to organize data into preconceived categories (Glaser, 2004). Applying grounded theory to thi s study enabled me to perceive the lived experiences of, and thereby access da ta from, teachers in the school restructuring proces s. Grounded theory also provided a vehicle for applying rigor to the qualitative research process and a method for analyzing raw data from interviews and field notes (Strauss & Corbin, 1998).
6 0 R esearch ers have applied grounded theory to research in educator percept ions of education policy and career cultures within the teaching profession (Jones, 2001; Lamkin, 2006; Rippon, 2005). Rippon (2005) studied educators to d etermine key feature s of different career culture s in education and how the cultures can be used to enhance the attractiveness of teaching as a career. Likewise, Lamkin (2006) used a grounded theory approach to study challenges faced by rural superintende nts in regards to district policy decisions. In both studies, analysis of interview data provided the identification of themes and patterns from which theory of educator perceptions regarding policy influences emerged. For the purpose of my study, grounde d theory provided the methodology to their conversations and interactions with others. E thnography as a Research Context In qualitative studies, the issue of trustworthin ess in evaluation (Rallis, Rossman, & Gajda (2007) must be addressed. T rustworthiness is attributed both to the competence in conducting research and the ethical relationships between the researcher, participants, stakeholders, and peers. An ethnographic method provides the researcher the opportunity to build trust with participants. In this way, ethnography becomes the vehicle for participants with the purpose of addre ssing ambiguities and creating share d p 408). The search for verisimilitude (Patton, 2002) guides the researcher to find and report truth from the research field.
61 Ethnography provides insight into the culture of a particular social grou p through systematic observations and conve rsational interviews (Berg, 2007 ;Florio Ruane & McVee, 2000; P atton, 2002; Rubin & Rubin, 2005 ). The ethnographer attempts to capture that culture through immersion within it, often as a participant observer, a nd to underst and and describe it (Berg, 2007 ; Patton, 2002). Conversely, the ethnographer m ust understand when entering into the social context to be studied s/he becomes part of that social context, should appreciate it, but not a ttempt to correct it (Be rg, 2007 ). Ethnography is used as a research tool in studying schools and educational processes (Guthrie & Hall, 1984; Preissle & Grant, 1998). Classrooms are settings where participants develop a common culture influenced by curriculum, achievement, language, and observable practices (Florio Ruane & McVee, 2000). A classroom, as a setting for p 156). Additionally, cultural elements in classroom contexts ori ginating out of school are Grant, 1998, p 5). making processes during interpretation and implementation of policy (Hamann & Lane, 2004; Troman, Je ffrey, & Raggl, 2007). Hamann and Lane (2004) adopted an ethnographical stance to study the development of education policy in Maine and Puerto Rico related to federal requirements in NCLB (2001 ) They focused on the roles of state education agencies p 429) associated with these agencies, the interaction of these agencies with local education
62 agencies (LEA) during the process of poli cy implementation, how the increased role of practice, how policy was reshaped at the state level, the impact of state and federal politics on policy formation, and the i ncreased discretion given to states in implementing federal education policy. Troman, Jeffrey, & Raggl (2007) conducted ethnographic research in six English primary schools to study the effects on teacher performance of a new policy initiative calling for more creativity to be coupled with the data driven performance policy mandates currently in place. Through analysis of interviews, life histories, and school documentation, the researchers studied how changing policy initiatives impacted classroom perfor mance and educator attitudes toward both policies. By using ethnography as a research tool, the researchers of each study discovered how the cultures of different school systems differentially influenced the implementation of policy. As the ethnographer of my study, I intend ed to discover the impact of restructuring policy on Ethnographic methods provide a researcher with the opportunity to witness study participants in real ti me. By being in midst of what s/he i s studying, the researcher has an emic view (Berg, 2007) as an insider in the research setting. However, the presence of p 177) how participants conduct themselves when an outsider is obser ving them. For this study, the first one to two weeks of time spent with the staff was as a volunteer /visitor before I place d myself in their classrooms as a researcher/observer to smooth the transition from outsider to insider.
63 Critical Discourse Analysi s as a Research Tool Critical discourse analysis concerns the location and use of power in the language of social practice in a given context (Rogers et. al., 2005). Human language is not just one language, but a variety of social languages whose rules c ome from specific social settings, and within the contexts of these social settings members interact through tacitly shared discourses (Gee, 2001). Gee (1999) defines discourse in two ways. Discourse r within specific social settings, Discourses. Both types of discourse are f ound within situated identities: the identities of individuals within specific social settin gs, and within the use of social languages. languages and Discourses with a bounded social group over a period of time. Meanings of words vary across different contexts with in and across different discourses (Gee, 199). In the discourse of educational accountability, language takes on NCLB (2001) but their meanings may be different for non educators. My mom asked me to tell her about my dissertation topic, and I explained I was stud ying teacher perceptions regarding Adequate Yearly Progress and school restructuring. She had no idea what I was saying something might be in a year, but the terms as educators u se them are not part of her
64 cultural model. Even as I tried to explain it to her, she did not have the background provided by my cultural model to understand it. I think she was sorry she asked. As illustrated above, words and terms have situated meani ngs. For this study, th ese terms must be elaborated first to reflect what teachers understand them to mean. Then teachers situated use and meanings for terms can be compared with documents that introduce the terms. Only then was I able to communicate ea ch situated meaning and contrast them so that outside readers gain an appreciation of their in context uses. Researchers use critical discourse analysis to understand how people make meaning in particular contexts (Rogers, et. al., 2005). In this case, e ducation, learning in classrooms is shaped by Discourse, curricular practices, and the influences of stake holders outside of the classroom (Gee & Green, 1998). By combining critical discourse analysis and ethnographic methodology, educational researchers study how educational Discourse impacts instructional practice and student learning (Gee & Green, 1998). My study is an organizational case study of a Title I school in its first year of restructuring due to failure to achieve AYP According to Faircl ough (2005), discourse analysis is an important part of organizational studies. He defines organizations as a network of social practices, and analysis of organizational discourse should include all types of texts or social relationships Within social s tructures there are three social properties as described below:
65 the real and actual that is exper ienced by social actors ( p 922). The ways in which causal powers affect events is a product of the interaction between different structures and causal powers held by bot h the properties of the structure as well as social agents within the structure. He further explains: People with their capacities for agency are seen as socially produced, contingent and subject to change, yet real, possessing real causal powers which, i n their tension with the causal powers of social structures and practices are a f ocus for analysis ( p 923). Organiz ational structures, therefore, a ) are hegemonic in that they are based in power relat ions between groups of people, b ) may experience crisi s due to i nternal or external pressures, c ) develop their own strategies in res ponse to crises, d ) may be influenced by the disc ourses of other organizations, e ) may undergo change due to the effe cts of response to crises, and f ) may produce new discourses as an outcome. As a part of a network of other organizations, organizational structures are subject to external pressures that can lead to internal change. Language has causal power (Fairclough, 2005). Within the context of this study, the language of NCLB (2001) exerted power on states, districts, schools, and teachers to change their practices in order to advance student achievement in the form of AYP. The language of states defined what constitutes AYP. The language of districts determined how thei r schools meet state goals. The language of school administrators created
66 expectations for classroom teachers. The language of teachers established how student achievement goals should be met in their individual classrooms. Within the larger organization al structure of United States schools is one Title I school that is the organization of interest for this study. The teachers of that school are the organizational members on whom accountability is measured by the causal powers within the larger organizat ional structure. Analysis of their Discourse, both as it matches or does not match the larger Discourses of AYP and restructuring, is critical to understanding how teachers perceive these expectations and operate upon their perceptions. The Researcher I am an elementary school teacher with 17 years of experience currently on educational leave from my district to complete this research study. During my career I taught at a Title I school that did not make AYP before moving to my last school assignment. I perceived the teachers at my previous Title I school to be talented and dedicated, and I am proud to have been part of the staff. I understand what it means to mak ing AYP. I also understand how disappointing it is to work hard, take hours of professional development, meet with parents, and see growth in students only to be told at the end of the year that the numbers just were not enough. My experience also reinfo rces wha t many teachers already know; n umbers do not always tell the story. Because of these experiences I was concerned about the bias I necessarily b ring to this study. Could I place myself into a familiar environment, monitor my teacher self, establish my researcher
67 (2004) work on grounded theory reinforced my concern about bias yet provided me with direction on how t o mediate this dilemma. If I was to truly find out what t eachers think and feel about thei r personal experiences, I could not allow my personal experiences to funnel their words into contrived categories. There would be no emergent theory, only justification of my own. Even though my experiences were related t o the teachers in this study, they are not the same or may not even be shared. Yet, it is my personal experience in these situations that allowed me to understand wh at my participating teachers were sharing with me. In order to monitor my thoughts and r eactions during data collection, and keep th e issue of bias in mind, I maintain ed a researcher journal throughout the study. In this journal I deconstructed the experiences detailed in my early field notes and responded to my impressions during teache r in terviews. The journal also provide d a means to record my overall impressions and experiences of each school day: What did conversations at lunch entail? How did teachers interact with colleagues outside of their classrooms? What did I learn from non in structional staff during my days at school? At the onset of the study, the journal was a valuable tool since I chose not to collect data immediately upon entrance into the school. As the study progressed, I journaled less due to the increased use of fiel d notes where I recorded my reactions to each observation session. Reliability and Validity There are no straight forward criteria for testing reliability in qualitative research. communicate findings in the context of the purpose of the study (Patton, 2002). The
68 researcher must develop codes and categories that reflect patterns in the data (Patton, 2002). These categories must a) be consistent, b ) be inclusive of all data, and c ) be reproducible by another observer (Patton, 2002). These guideli nes help establish reliability in qualitative inquiry. By entering into a research setting, in this case a school in restructuring, I had to ask to what extent my presen ce influence d the data I obtain ed Schneider (1999) labels p 26) that forces the researche r to consider his/her effects on data while practically understanding that allows the researcher to recognize how answers to research questions are impacted by the v iews and biases brought into the research context as well as the influences the researcher has upon the participants. It is in this context of acknowledgement and careful self reflection I enter ed into this study. Additionally, the use of prolonged obse rvations, member checks, peer debriefing, and m y researcher journal contributed to the valid and reliable analysis of the data (Patton, 2002). Limitations and Generalizability Since grounded theory is focused on generation of theory rather than testing th eory, it is less focused on limitations and generalizability of a study (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). There is scientific value in gaining an understanding of a specific group (Berg, 2007). This is the second year Florida schools h ave entered restructuring and there are no
69 story of the process as told by the teachers who work there. Participants Twelve t eachers from a Title I elementary school in a large rural sc hool dis trict in Florida were the research partners fo r this study. Two participants were initially selec ted based upon recommendations by the reading coach and subsequent participants entered the study by responding to invitations delivered through email The e lementary school was selected bas ed on the following criteria: a ) t he school is a Title I school, b ) the school did not made AY P for the last five years, and c ) failure to make AYP due to reading achievement was used as a minimal selection criterion for th e particular school chosen. Selection of site and partic ipants is further discussed in C hapt er F our Data Sources Multiple data sources are necessary to provide researchers with more than one 2007) during data collection. I employ ed f ield notes, semi structured inter view, and surveys to collect data for this study. Field Notes Through direct observations the researcher can understand the context wherein the participants interact, obtain a first hand experience by being part of the research setting, and observe objectively phenomena that the participants might not notice during their daily routines (Patton, 2002). These first accurate, and detailed fie utilize d f ield note s to record
70 observations of teachers within their physical classroom environments and during their routines throughout the school day. Two column double entry field notes were used for collected observational data (Patton, 2 002). In the right column I recorded detailed accounts of observations including quotations, behaviors, social interactions and activities. In t he le ft column I recorded my personal reactions to the observation in the form of feelings, imp ressions, and questions that aro se during the observation. Rich description provides the setting for qualitative research (Patton, 2002), but it is impossible to record everything that is happening during an observation. Ethnographers must focus on specific portions of their environment p 192). For each c lassroom obs ervat ion I first focus ed on describing the physical classroom environment. In addition to a narrative description a rendering of the floo r plan for each classroom w as inclu ded After detailing the classroom environment I focus ed classroom conversations. While it is desirable for the qualitative researcher to spend large quantities of time in observat ion, the nature of this study was prohibitive in this respect. In order to gain entry into an elementary classroom in the throes of restructuring, consideration had to be given to the culture of these schools concerning Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) administ ration. First, I determined my presence would not be welcomed during the preparation time leading up to the administration of FCAT. In fact, my supposition was validated in my own experience. I have found this time to be stressful on both
71 teachers and s tudents, and the presence of an outsider who might cause disruption in instruction would not be appreciated, if allowed. Second, I want ed to co llect data before FCAT results were reported. I did not want either the sense of relief at achieving AYP or any feelings of frustration or failure at not achieving AYP to interfe re with the conversations I had with teachers. I desire d as I collect ed data. For my research purposes I bega n collecting data the first w eek of April 2009 This was the week after spring break (which immediately followed the conclusion of FCAT testing) and data were collected through the release of FCAT scores (the second week of June 2009 ) Semi s tructured Interviews An interview can be se p 89). Qualitative interviewing allows the researcher to reconstruct events for which s/he was to the interviewee exactly what s/he wants to know (Berg, 2007), so skill must be used in developing questions as well as techniques in eliciting responses from the interviewee (Patton, 2002). Patton (2002) distinguishes six kinds of interview questions. Experience and behavior questions provide information regarding what the researcher would have seen if with the interviewee during specific time periods and settings. Opinion and value questions allow the interviewee to make judgments about experiences. Feeling and emo tion questions differ from opinion/value questions in that the researcher is looking for emotional reactions to situations rather than value judgments. Knowledge questions give
72 ry questions provide the interviewer a view from the perspective of the interviewee. Background questions provide specific characteristics of the person being interviewed. For this study I developed one question from each category for the interviews. M y initia l interview questions/probes were : 1. Tell me about your background and teaching experience. (background) 2. (knowledge) 3. What is your opinion of the restructuring process? (opinion) 4. How ha s the restructuring process changed your reading instruction? (experience/behavior) 5. 6. What emotional responses have you encountered during this process? (feeling/emotion) 7. Is there anythi ng else you would like to tell me? My committee determined that a question regarding student reading achievement would be insightful, so an additional question was added to the interview protocol: 8. How has restructuring impacted reading achievement at you r school?
73 Following my first two interviews I found the question regarding emotional responses to be awkward since teachers readily discussed their feelings regarding the restructuring process. I used this question as a probe in later interviews only if teachers did not discuss their feelings and emotions when answering the other questions. I interview ed twelve teachers with each intervie w lasting between 30 to 90 minutes A f ollow up focus group int erview investigate d emerging patterns and themes from initial interviews. The focus group consisted of six of the twelve participants. The interviews were digitally reco rded and stored on my computer and in back up thumb drives. The interviews were transcribed within one week after each interview since t ime ly transcription provides the researcher the opportunity to remember physical gestures by the interviewee and direction in preparing for the next interview (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). Organization of the interview data is explained in the Data Analysis sectio n of this chapter. Surveys Researchers can obtain qualitative data from documents such as memoranda, diaries, letters, open ended surveys observations, visual data such as photography, poems, emails, and questionnaires (Patton, 2002). Th e survey for t his study consisted of six questions on a Likert scale and an open ended response section following each question. I formulated the survey questions based on my interview questions. By using similar statements and questions in both the survey and intervi ews I can compare responses from the staff as a whole to individual teachers.
74 I chose to use an open ended survey for two reasons. First, the answers to the surveys provide d me with data r egarding the staff as a whole so I used the raw data to gain a se nse of the perceptions of the staff. Second, the incl usion of an open ended question provide d me with an initial set of data to guide any revision of my interview questions. My initial survey questions were as follows: 1. Restructuring has taught me about the curricular and instructional choices at my school. Please make any additional comments in this space: 2. I have received professional development in reading instruction since entering into the restructuring process. Please make any additional comments in this space: 3. The restructuring process has been a positive experience. Please make any additional comments in this space: 4. My reading instruction has changed since entering into the restructuring process. Please make any additional comments in this space: 5. I have collaborated with my colleagues regarding instruction during the restructuring process.
75 Please make any additional comments in this space: As a pilot study, I administered the survey to a focus group of five teachers currently teaching in schools in the first year of restr ucturing. After I administered the survey, the teachers told me making process regarding reading instruction would be insightful. My committee also agreed a question regarding student achievement in reading would be informative. Therefore, I changed the first survey question as follows: 1. I have input into decisions regarding reading curricul um and instruction at my school I also added an additional question: 6. Student achieve ment in reading has increased due to curricular and instructional changes during the restructuring process. Procedure process at their school, I analyzed surveys, field no tes and interviews to identify emergent themes. The method of analysis of each data type is discussed below. Data Analysis Tab le 9 represents how data was analyzed and the relevance of the data to each research question:
76 Table 9 Relevance of Data to Res earch Questions Data Type Data Analysis Question #1 understanding s of AYP status Question #2 perception s of restructuring Question #3 u nderstandings restructuring Question #4 c hanges in reading instruction Surveys Descriptive and Comparative Stat istics, Constant Comparative Analysis X X X Field Notes Content Analysi s X X X Interviews Constant Comparative Analysis X X X X All recordings, transcriptions, field notes, and surveys were stored in a locked filing cabinet in my home. Parti sc hool, and district names were substituted with pseudonyms to ensure anonymity. Participant responses t o the open ended surveys were analyzed for percentages of categorica l responses. Interviews were transcribed and coded to determine emerg ent themes. Field notes were analyzed to determine emergent themes, provide descriptions of the school envir onment and culture, and used as a reflective source for my researcher journal. Interview Data Analysis Qualitative inquiry attempts to identify patterns in pa 2002). Qualitative data must be reduced and organized in order to find emergent patterns and themes, presented in an organized way, and allow for verification of conclusions (Berg, 2007). Constant comparative analysis is th e careful examination of data that allows for the identification of patterns and themes (Berg, 2007; Patton, 2002). Meaningful units, such as words, phrases, and non verbal comm unication were identified
77 from the inter view recordings and transcripts and c ategorized into themes. I applied c ri tical discourse analysis to e laborate what teachers understoo d the terms associated with AYP to mean. Then teachers situated use and meanings for these terms was compared with documents that introduce d the terms. I then communicate d each situated meaning and contrast ed them. Firs t, ease of accessibility was established by means of a filing system (Berg, 2007). I assigned all interview transcripts a pseud onym, then dated and placed in an electronic folder. Once I c ompleted the interviews I analyzed the transcripts line by line for meaningful units in interviewee r esponses. I identified lines of text as the first word at the left margin and the last word at the right margin. Line by line coding allow ed for identifying the location of meaningful units. Then I created an electronic spreadsheet for each research question. As I identified major themes a nd subthemes from surveys, fie ld notes or interviews, I indexed them by establishing a code that ident ified the specific transcript f rom which the meaningful unit was found, the line number, and the text was entered into the analysis document by copying and pasting Passages conta inin g more than one subtheme were cross referenced to other su bthemes. After major themes were identified, meani ngful units were read again to ensure a systematic analysis of the data in identifying units of analysis as related to research questions. P e e r evaluation (Berg, 2007) allow ed for validity of th e data. After themes were identified, a doctoral student reviewed the dat a to confirm the coding reflected the identified themes and establish ed
78 inter rater reliability I reviewed her coding and deter mined whether, in cases of disagreement, I would leave the coding the same or change it to match her suggestion. Survey Data Analysis Uni ts of analysis for surveys include d percentages of categorical responses and answers to open e nded responses. I displa yed t he percentage of e ach categorical re sponse graphically by each survey question and the subsequent response on the Likert scale. As with analyzing interview data, constant comparative analysis was applied to open ended responses in order to uncover th emes and patterns. Responses to survey data in percentages were organized for analysis in Table 10: Table 10 Responses to Staff Survey Question Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree I have input into decisions regarding reading curriculum and in struction in my school. I have received professional development in reading instruction since entering into the restructuring process. The restructuring process has been a positive experience. My reading instruction has changed since enterin g into the restructuring process. I have collaborated with my colleagues regarding instruction during the restructuring process. Student achievement in reading has increased due to curricular and instructional changes during the restructuring pro cess.
79 Survey data provide d a first look at staff attitudes related to the restructuring process Analysis of the surveys also provide d the next step for data collection by providing an emerging theory (Glaser, 2004) and guide d me towards any necessa ry changes in interview q uestions and probes. This allow ed me to control the relevance of the data collected toward the direction of emergent theory. Field Notes Data Analysis tradition al notions of symbols, contents, and intents...that enables researchers to plan, 2004 pp. xvii xviii ). Therefore, content analysis allows for the reduction of qualitat ive data as a sense making strategy (Patton, 2002). Following the tenets of grounded theory, this analysis allows for the emergence of patterns and themes found in documents rather than the categorizing of information into pre existing categories Within my field notes I document ed my observations of teachers during their sc hool day. The field notes also provide d a source for written descriptions of the sc hool setting. Field notes allow ed me to record my impressions during the obser vation time that I la ter reflect ed on in my researcher journal. Chapter Summary perceptions and understandings of the restructuring process as defined by NCLB (2001) as well as the impact of restructuring on reading instruction. Those questions are:
80 1. Adequate Yearly Progress? 2. What are the understandings of teachers regarding the restructuring process? 3. What are the pe rceptions of teachers regarding the restructuring process? 4. In what ways have their perceptions of the restructuring process changed their reading instruction? To answer these questions, th e Discourse of teachers was analyzed to understand how they perceive d the larger Discourse of school reform as legislated in NCLB (2001) The synthesis of data collected from surveys, obser vations, and interviews was graphically AYP means for their scho ol. Additionally, da ta were represented to reveal major themes how restructuring has impacted reading instruction in their classrooms. This chapter p rovided an overview o f the qualitative methods employed in my study. Grounded theory, ethnography, and critical discourse analysis provide the theoretical framework for this organizational case study. Site and participant selection were discussed. Open ended surveys, field not es, and interviews data were collected and analyzed using content analysis, descriptive statistics, and constant comparative analysis. Generalizability, reliability, validity, and researcher bias were also discussed.
81 CHAPTER FOU R : DATA ANALYSIS How well do teachers understand changing education policy as it relates to their daily lives in their classrooms? Specifically, what are the real and perceived impacts of school restructuring on teachers as a consequence of not making Ad equate Yearly Progress? For teachers at Star Elementary School, every year since the signing of NCLB (2001) achieve AYP. To better understand this journey, I collected and analyzed data from surveys, field notes, documents and interviews in order to answer the following research questions: 1. Adequate Yearly Progress? 2. What are the understandings of teachers regarding the restructuring process? 3. What are the perceptions of teachers regarding the restructuring process? 4. In what ways have their perceptions of the restructuring process changed their reading instruction? Introduction to Star Elementary Scho ol The purpose of this study wa the consequences of restructuring. To do so, it was necessary to work with teachers currently in a restructuring school due to its failure to make AYP for at least five years. I requested permission to conduct research in Bell County: my county of residence and
82 employment. I chose Bell County because of my familiarity with district policy, my contacts with individuals at the district office and the proximity to my res idence. However, gaining entry to conduct this research was not a simple matter. In addition to district regulations regarding conducting research in schools, the focus of my research provided its own issues resulting in some hesitancy from principals an d close scrutiny by district supervisors. I requested a proposal to conduct research from the Bell County School District Testing and Acco untability Office in November, 2008. I reviewed information regarding school AYP status on the district website and wrote letters to four principals explaining my research interest and requesting interviews. None of the principals responded to my letters. I determined a personal approach was in order so I decided to go to each of the four schools and request an inter view with the principals. The principal at Success Elementary School met with me in December and listened to my proposal. He was hesitant but was also a doctoral student working on his dissertation proposal in educational leadership. He finally agreed for his school to partner with me in the research project. I completed the proposal to conduct research and submitted it for approval. Two weeks following my submission I received a telephone call from the Testing and Accountability Office of the distri ct informing me that while the district was supportive of my research, I would have to partner with a different school due to Success administration. I asked who to contact to g uide me in choosing a different partner school
83 and was given the names of the four district supervisors who were responsible for oversight of SINI schools. I emailed each of the supervisors and explained my research and the need to contact a school that w ould be available for my study. Two out of four supervisors responded to my email and each offered suggestions of schools in other several weeks of emailing, one of th e supervisors gave me permission to contact Star Elementary School. After my first unsuccessful experience in contacting principals by letter I decided to go directly to Star Elementary School and request an interview. Again, the principal was hesitant. After much discussion and assurances of district permission to conduct my study she agreed to allow her school to partner with me in my research after the conclusion of FCAT testing in March. I requested an opportunity to meet with teachers during their M arch faculty meeting in order to explain my research and administer a survey. She would not allow this, stating that the agenda was already full and she did not like to keep teachers late on faculty meeting days. She agreed to put me on the agenda for Ap ril. I then requested to enter the school as a volunteer in order to get to know the staff before I began any data collection. She agreed to this and told me to contact the guidance counselor after the testing period. I contacted the district Testing and Accountability office during the last week of February, 2009, and notified them of the change of school site. One week later I received permission from the district to conduct research at Star Elementary School. Following a successful proposal defense a t the University, I requested and received IRB approval to
84 conduct my study. FCAT testing began two weeks later. Following completion of the volunteer at Star Elementary School. She responded with a warm welcome and made an appointment for the following Monday to meet with her. I went to Star Elementary early Monday morning to meet with Mrs. Benny. After a short delay while she was working with her morning reading group, she took me on a tour of Star. She introduced me to several teachers, showed me the campus and took me back to her office for a short conversation. She asked me to explain my research and responded positively to the topic. She then gave me a list of se veral teachers who might be interested in having a volunteer in their class rooms. She encouraged me to go to their classrooms, observe and try to identify which students in those classrooms might need extra attention from a volunteer. I visited two third grade, two fourth grade, and one fifth grade classrooms. The teachers, who I had not briefed on who I was or why I was there, greeted me warmly and welcomed me to observe and take notes. After each observation I spoke briefly with the teacher and explai ned that I would be volunteering and doing research at Star. Each teacher encouraged me to come back to her classroom and welcomed me to Star. for a few minutes about my expe riences in classrooms then she directed me to the media center where they would be waiting on me to start my volunteer hours. I worked the rest of the afternoon in the media center, shelving books and straightening shelves. While in the media center I sp oke with Mrs. Chandler, the reading coach, who offered to meet with
85 me to give me more information regarding reading curriculum and instruction at the school as well as the names of teachers who were looking for volunteers in their classrooms. I made an a ppointment with her for the Monday following Spring Break. As I left the school, I stopped by the office to get a teacher master schedule for later planning. Language Arts St be back for two weeks. During the break I used the master schedule to create a tentative schedule for volunteering and observing in classrooms. I wanted to volunteer in classrooms so the teachers could get to know me before I asked to document observations in field notes during their reading instruction and conduct interviews. Since I would not be able to meet with staff to introduce myself as a researcher until four weeks after I beg an my research I felt it was important to insert myself slowly, let teachers get used to my presence in their classrooms then ask them to allow me to observe and interview them. I returned to Star on the Monday following Spring Break and set a schedule w ith Mrs. Benny to volunteer on Monday, Tuesday and Friday each week. These days were chosen because I supervised university interns on Wednesday and taught a university class on Thursday. Following the end of the spring semester (end of April) I would be at Star every day.
86 During one of my classroom visits on my first day at Star I observed a fourth grade classroom. As I was leaving, the teacher invited me to come to her classroom anytime so I decided to go to her room and see if I could be of help. I did so, and she enthusiastically welcomed me into her classroom. She asked me to circulate around the room during her math review that lasted from the beginning of the school day at 7:45 until they went to their specials at 9:00. I continued this routi ne three days per week for the next four weeks at Star. I again went to the media center to help there. I met with Mrs. Chandler, the reading coach, who proved to be a great source of information regarding curriculum and instruction at Star as well as hel pful with linking background information regarding changes at Star in response to its first year in restructuring. She suggested several teachers who might be interested in ha ving a volunteer and offered to email them to let them kno w I would be contacting them. Some of t hese teachers were senior members of the staff and often had volunteers and interns in their classrooms while others were first or second year teachers who ap preciated an extra set of hands with their students Later in the day, while back in the media center, Mrs. Chandler told me she sent the emails. As luck would have it, one of the teachers on the list was also in the library and Mrs. Chandler introduced me to her. Mrs. Martin, a kindergarten teacher, graciously invited me to come to her classroom the next day to begin working with her. Thus began the process for collecting data at Star. I emailed the teachers from Mrs. acher responded positively and invited me to come to their
87 rooms. As I worked with these teachers I made new connections with other teachers and asked to come to their classrooms. After administration of the instructional staff surv ey (the survey is expl ained in Chapter T hree ) I began emailing different grade levels, reintroducing myself as a researcher and asking to visit and observe in their classrooms. The need to offer myself as a volunteer ebbed, but I found that I enjoyed working with teachers in t his capacity. I worked with small groups of students in reading and math, worked one on one with the same students every day, was invited to teach a reading lesson, took over a math lesson when an unexpected parent conference arose, administered DIBELS to two kindergarten classes, and graded and filed papers. In this way I became a true participant observer at Star and was made to feel a part of the staff. This structure also provided many opportunities to talk informally with teachers and, following ref lection upon them in my journal, gain a better understanding of how they perceived themselves, their students and their school during this first year in restructuring. Characteristics of Star Elementary School A school is a community with its own culture history and identity yet is part of the characteristics. Star Elementary School is a Tit le I neighborhood school located in a rural community in Central Florida. Star was built in 1962 and is 47 years old. The school houses grades Kindergarten through fifth, one ESE pre Kindergarten unit, one general
88 education pre Kindergarten unit and one ESE resource class. At the time of my study, 545 students attend ed Star Elementary school. Table 11 shows the grade level breakdown of the school: Table 11 Star Elementary School Population by Grade level Grade Number of Students Pre Kindergarten 27 K indergarten 82 First 83 Second 100 Third 101 Fourth 84 Fifth 68 (Bell County Schools, Star Elementary, General Information, 2009) The mean annual family income for Star Elementary School is $27,000 with a mean family home value of $55,000. Current reduced lunch. The average number of students missing 21 days of school or more is teacher to pupil ratio is 16.7:1. Table 12 Table 12 Star Elementary School Stud ent Demographics (Star School Improvement Plan, 2009) Category Percentage Hispanic 48 Black 21 Caucasian 31 Free/Reduced Lunch 91 ESE 12 ELL 27 All teache rs at Star Elementary School me t the highly qualified teacher requirement as delineated in NCLB (2001). There we re 30 regular classroom teachers
89 with an additional 21 teachers serving in other classroom or resource positions. Table 13 displays teacher assignment demographics for the 2008 2009 school year: Table 13 Star Elementary School Teacher Assignments, 2008 2009 ( Star School Improvement Plan, 2009) Grade Level Number of Teachers Average Years Teaching Kindergarten 5 0.6 First 5 5.8 Second 6 1.67 Third 6 10.83 Fourt h 4 13.25 Fifth 4 19 Teacher turn over wa s evident at Star. Out of 30 regular classroom teachers, 13 were new to Bell County with one or two years of teaching experience. According to coach, there we re few teachers who have taught at St ar for five years or more. Table 14 shows longevity figures per grade level: Table 1 4 Teacher Longevity at Star Elementary School Grade Level Number of Teachers Number of Teachers at Star for Five or More Years K 5 0 1 5 1 2 6 0 3 6 2 4 4 3 5 4 0 S tar hired ten new teachers for the 2007 2008 school year and another thirteen new teachers for the 2008 2009 school year. Teacher attrition at Star is similar to teacher retention at low performing schools during education reform (Kinsey, 2006; Margolis &
90 LaFloch, Elledge, Holtzman, Song, Thomsen, Walters, & Yoong, 2008 ). Mrs. Smith completing her second year as principal at Star where she also served as the assistant principal. During her first year as principal, Star maintained a school grade of B and made learning g ains in its ELL and students with disabilities populations in reading as well ELL students making learning gains in math. Mrs. Jones, the assistant principal, is completing her first year as an administrator at Star and brings two years of previous experi ence from another assistant principal position in Bell County. She has thirteen department (Star School Improvement Plan, 2008). Star Elementary School never made Adeq uate Yearly Progress as measured under the criteria of NCLB (2001) and was designated as a School in Need of Improvement (SINI) 5 school (five years wi thout AYP). As discussed in Chapter T wo schools achieve AYP by meeting state proficiency percentage req uirements or making improvement that meets Safe Harbor guidelines ( NCLB 2001). According to 2008 FCAT results, Star failed to achieve AYP in both reading and math. Data analysis of 2008 FCAT results revealed the following needs assessment for student pr oficiency levels in reading and math:
91 Table 15 Needs Assessm ent of From FCAT 2008 Test Data Subgroup Reading or Math Percent Proficient Black Reading 44 Economically Disadvantaged Reading 56 Students with Disabilities Reading 38 Made Learning Gains Lowest 25% Reading 77 Lowest 25% Math 65 In order to make AYP for the 2008 2009 school year, Star Elementary must achieve the following proficiency levels in math: Table 16 Necessary Math Proficiency Levels to Make AY P for the 2008 2009 School Year Gr ade Level(s) Category Target % Ach. 3 < 3 5 Black 53 (Safe Harbor) 3 5 Economically Dis. 63 (Safe Harbor) 3 5 Students w/Dis. 46 (Safe Harbor) 3 All 63 4 All 64 5 All 68 Learning Gains % 3 5 Lowest Quartile 80 a a L owest quartile learning gains re present learning gains made by the lowest 25 th percentile of students Star Elementary must also achieve the following proficiency levels in reading:
92 Table 17 Necessary Reading Proficiency Levels to Achieve AY P for the 2008 2009 School Year Grade level(s) Category Target % Ach. 3> 3 5 All 61 3 5 Caucasian 63 3 5 Black 47 3 5 Economically Dis. 57 3 All 67 4 All 56 5 All 61 Learning Gains% 3 5 Lowest Quartile 63 a a L owest quartile learning gains represent learning gains made by the lowest 25 th percentile of students. Participants Participants for the study were selected purposefully (Patton, 2002) in order to p 230) for in depth study. Since I was not allowed to meet with the staff at the onset of the st u dy (survey administration did not take place until the April 30 th faculty meeting) I had no formal recruiting opportunity when I first entered the school. Initial selection was facilitated by the reading coach and introductions to teachers Mrs. Benny made on my first day at Star. This group was composed of one kindergarten, one second, one fourth, and one fifth grade classroom teachers. Mrs. Chandler also recommended I contact two other kindergarten teachers who currently taught in the dual language prog ram. Their students received instruction in English for one half of the day and instruction in Spanish during the other half of the day. Following the survey administration I contacted all grade levels, except kindergarten beca use I already had three te acher participants from that group, by email to invite teachers to participate in the study. I received responses to my emails from two
93 first grade, one third grade, two fourth grade and one fifth grade teacher bringing the total number of participants to twelve classroom teachers. Table 18 provides an overview of participants: Table 18 Study Participants Grade Level Years of Experience (including current year) Years at Star K 3 2 K 2 2 K 5 2 1 24 19 1 3 2 2 3 2 3 11 6 4 32 23 4 30 3 4 7 7 5 22 3 5 19 3 Participants ranged from two to thirty two years in teaching experience with an average of 13.4 years. This compares to an average of 8.5 years of experience for all classroom teachers at Star. Classroom Visits I observed teachers in eleven classrooms. The two first grade teachers worked together in a co teaching model during the reading block, so I observed them together. All teachers were observed during their reading blocks, and I also observed the math blocks of four of the teachers. Classroom ob servation time ranged from two hours to 13.5 hours per classroom with the number of classroom observations ranging from two to eight. In all, I spent 148.25 hours over a period of 31 days at Star.
94 Following data collection it was time to find out what teachers knew about NCLB (2001) and its restructuring consequence, what their perceptions were regarding why Star Elementary never achieved AYP and how restructuring impacted reading instruction at their school. To do this, I asked four research questions to guide my inquiry. Each question is discussed in the following section. The Research Questions and its restructuring consequence. Four research questions guided m section, each research questions is posed followed by an introduction to the topic of the question, a discussion of the data sources I used, how I analyzed the data and what the data revealed. Research Question 1: What are the P erceptions of T eachers regarding their S F ailure to A chieve Adequate Yearly Progress? ac hievement has not changed since the 1970s due to the need for higher literacy skills in the job market, inequitable distribution of reading achievement across socio economic levels and variability in learning rates across student subgroups (Roller, 2000). The teac hers at Star Elementary School we re sensitive to public perception. One teacher (Interview, April, 2009)
95 People are more likely to take credit for success than ta ke the blame for failure (Weiner, 2000) and teachers are no exception. Teachers have a deep emotional attachment to their work due to their emotional involvement with other people, the influence of their work on their self esteem and their heavy personal investment in the p 586). history or success or failure, social norms, or the performance of others, rules about the r pp. 2 3 ). From an intrapersonal perspective, if a person failed at a task in the past, the repeated failure is more likely to be attributed to self than others. Conversely, if an individual perceives multiple causa lities in failure, the individual is less likely to attribute failure to self than to others. An interpersonal perspective concerning failure concerns the reactions of others as a result of that failure. If the cause of failure is perceived as controllabl e, those involved in the sequence of events generally look for the fixable cause and take appropriate actions. If the causal agent is perceived as uncontrollable, personal accountability is often removed from the failure (Weiner, 2000). In this sense, wh en teachers perceive they have no control of the educational achievement of their students, they are likely to shift accountability from themselves to outside, uncontrollable factors. lure at Star Elementary School, I analyzed the transcripts from the teacher interviews I conducted at Star. First, I read each interview to find references to AYP failure at Star. Then I copied each teacher quote into an electronic spreadsheet organized b y teacher
96 name and line(s) of text from the interview transcript. I also included a column to be used as a theme identifier during later analysis. After all transcripts were copied and s in their responses. As patterns emerged I created categories at the bottom of the spreadsheet that related to category. I worked back and forth between reading respons es, determining a category and coding each response. Eventually larger themes emerged from the data allowing me to collapse smaller categories into larger ones. As I did this, I color coded each response to match the smaller categories so I could easily see where each response fit into larger themes. For example, under the larger theme of student population were five categories: 1) S ocio E conomic S tatus 2) behavior, 3) subgroups (including race and exceptionalities, 4) language and 5) motivation. Each of the five smaller categories had its own color code, so any response related to student population was color coded to match its category for quick identification during later analysis. Coding procedures were duplicated by a colleague, a graduate assista nt with whom I worked closely in the Childhood Education and Literacy Studies department, to establish inter rater reliability which was initially 89%. After the two raters compared results, and resolved differences in interpretation, the inter rate r reli ability was adjusted to 94 %. Teachers often blame children and families for academic failure (McGill Franzen & Allington, 1993) and data analysis revealed this to be true at Star Elementary School. The population served by Star was the most cited reason
97 AYP, but teachers also discussed their own responsibilities in failure to achieve this goal. Additionally, teachers discussed district policy contributions to AYP failure. Each of these teacher perceptions is discussed b elow. Students Teachers identified students as holding some of the responsibility for not and limited oral language skills as antecedents to their difficulties in academic achievement. Teachers also indicated student misbehavior and lack of motivation contributed to AYP failure. Lim ited e ducational o pportunities As discu ssed earlier in Chapt er F our Star Elementary serves a student population that is 91% free/reduced lunch with a high absence and mobility rate. Teachers expressed sympathy mixed with frustration at the lack of educational opportunities with which their students come to school which is indicative of lack of reading readiness in poor schools (Al Otaiba, et. al, 2008; Berliner, 2006; Kaminski & Good, 1996; Schilling, Carlisle, Scott & Zeng, 2007). One May, 2009). Another first grade teacher, while discussing end of the year DIBEL S and
98 SAT 10 test scores, pointed out that approximately one one third to one half of the second grade is going to get intensive remediatio n next year? additional 30 minutes of reading instruction in small, targeted grou ps with state adopted supplemental reading materials. Delivering targeted supplemental instruction to one third to one half of each second grade classroom would be logistically difficult due to both lack of approved m aterials and large teacher to student groups. I had a personal experience with a student related to his background experiences. During my volunteer time in a third grade classroom I worked with Benjamin, a quiet and teacher asked me to work with him on a writing assignment concerning a trip to the post office. I sat with him at the back reading table and read through his plan and draft. His writing was difficult to read with run on sentences, misspelled words and d isconnected ideas. I asked Benjamin to talk to me about his ideas so we could revise the piece and make it more coheren t. There was one small problem; Benjamin had never been to the post office. He knew stamps could be purchased at the post office but all of his experiences Limited o ral l anguage s kills English Language Learners compri student population and teachers discussed the challenges second language learning brings to their school. NCL B (2001) mandates that second language learners participate in
99 testing following two years in public schools, and teachers discussed the difficulty in preparing these students for high stakes testing before they had command of the English language. One ki to school, the first time they have been somewhere they have ever heard English, they went on to say because the poor kids are sitting there afraid, you know, what is it I need to be doing, they are not acquiring anything, they are not able to express themselves and understand what is g school. Over one second language learning was not limited to the Hispani c population. One teacher noted, t to talk to a child about main idea, setting of literacy experiences coupled with limited oral vocabulary abilities, making the teaching of literary elements to these students more difficult than to their more experienced and vocabulary developed peers. guage deficits are not unique to this school. Students living in poverty and acquiring second languages often lag behind their
100 middle class, English proficient peers in reading achievement (Esche, Chang Ross, Guha, Humphrey, Shields, Tiffany Morales, Wesc t eachers we guage deficits, these teachers we re frustrated Stude nt m isbehavior they maintained cont ributed to behavioral problems at Star. Gang activity and drugs are reportedly common in the neighborhood. While I was visiting in a fifth grade classroom the teacher referred to a health lesson from the previous week and pointed out one of her students who had shared his in depth knowledge of marijuana and inhalants with the Teachers pointed to classroom behavior problems as an interruption of teaching having to deal with classroom management techniques they had implemented this year due to their new
101 Positive Behavior Support ( PBS ) model (PBS is discussed later in this chapter The same wise this year. And I think the majority of the kids learn more, I know in 4 th gra [different activities last year] because I had some at risk students and some serious income neighborhood was perceived as negatively impacting its AYP status due to local gang and drug inv olvement. Teachers also negatively impacting student achievement due to its distraction during instruction Lack of s tudent m otivation tion on the Every teacher discussed lack of motivation to learn as an impediment to student achieve for students was not unnoticed. Again, the implementation of the PBS model was referred to as an awareness as a strategy to get the kids to move, sometimes you just have to bribe and really m otivate
102 (Interview, May, 2009) were comments I heard consistently from each teacher I interviewed. One teacher discussed her monetary investment in purchasing incen tives for to ask for that much, then you better have something, some kind of motivation behind it. All t eachers discussed the direct impact of student motivation on academic success. The implementation of the PBS program was perceived by teachers to have a positive impact on the development of intrinsic motivation for academic and behavioral success. Some teachers still relied on the use of extrinsic motivators to reward students for desired outcomes. Parents Again, while teachers were sympathetic regarding the socioeconomi c status of their lack of consistency in school attendance. Low socioeconomic h ouse holds. socio economic wealth, so Teachers discussed the problems associated with working in a high poverty school, especially in the area of par e nt involvement. While Star offered month ly parent workshops attendance wa s considered low. During the April staff meeting teachers and
103 administration analyzed the results of their Title I parent survey. Teachers found that the lack of child care inhibit ed parents from attending the workshops as well as coming to accessing district gradebook links enabling parents to check the academic progress of their students. Steps to alleviate the child care issue were already in place at parent nights, and administration encouraged teachers to invite parents to bring children to conferences. Teachers discussed solutions to the lack of Internet availability and suggested opening t he computer labs after school to enhance parent usage. They also agreed to coordinate due dates for projects with monthly parent nights so parents and students would have access to the computer labs each month. Teachers would also be available during thi s time since each grade level was represented by at least one teacher at each parent night event. Finally, administration and teachers developed a plan to contact local business to determine the likelihood of obtaining old computers for parent use. Teach kindergarten teacher much on parents to provide that extra teaching, but the reality today in the U S the
104 Another issue re Interview, June, 20 kids strive to be better. Like everybody is going to look at her and say, hey, these people Teachers perceived lack of parent invo lvement to have a negative impact on the families, teachers indicated that they have little control over what happens academically before and after the school day and were frustrated at the lack of academic support their students receive at home. Teachers discussed the impact of high percentages of low income students on achievement and behavior and claimed the lack of higher income students at their school created a void in models of good comportment and study skills. High m obility r ate Teachers claimed re impacted by the struggling students. Of the fou r, only one had been in her classroom all year, and another entered Star as her sixth school of the 2008 know a lot of it could be because of seasonal work the parents have to go and the kids
105 have to go with you, b 2009). Star has one of the highest mobility rates in Bell County (Bell County Schools District Website, 2009). Schools that fail to make AYP tend to have high mobility rates (Smith, 200 5) and high mobility rates impede program implementation deemed necessary teachers are aware of the impact of mobility on student achievement and perceive its impact on t Teachers While teachers discussed outside influences as causal agents in AYP failure they did not remove themselves from the equation. Teachers were candid in discussing issues with motivation and morale as well as t he impact of staff attrition on student achievement. Lack of t eacher m otivation. nd dedication to their students; however they also discussed how the scrutiny imposed upon them due to not achieving AYP negatively impacted their attitudes, physical well being and performance. Several teachers talked about pressure from family and friends to leave Star and move to higher achieving schools. While these teachers resisted the temptation to move on, they did admit to feeling frustrated and unappreciated. Additionally,
106 teachers did not receive raises for either years of teaching experie nce or cost of living adjustments for the 2008 expected incomes and concern about the availability of employment the following year. ce that Putting forth their personal best was sometimes at odds with their physical and Dealing with stress was not a new phenomenon this year. One teacher said, (Interview, May, 2009). Teachers discus sed stress related to implementation of new programs and as a result of not achieving AYP. They noted the stress placed on their administrators by the district and of higher stress levels on teachers in FCAT tested grades. They also discussed the impact of stress on their own physical well being. Teacher a ttrition. feel like it is almost impossible with so many teachers leaving last year and so many new
107 Like may low achieving, low income schools (Kinsey, 2006; Margolis & Nagel, 2006; Ware & Kitsantas, 2007) Star Elementary School struggles to keep experienced teachers on its s taff. As discussed earlier in Chapter F our ten new teachers came to Star in 2007 and thirteen came in 2008. One fifth grade teacher, new to Star in 2007, discussed the struggle in learning the new curriculum and instructional requirements at Star: This is still new to me because I come from an avid school district in [another state], th e ongoing learning process for myself also (Interview, May, 2009). Another teacher discussed the disadvantages of having new teachers on staff, especially in grades three through five due to FCAT testing: cher in 3 rd 4 th or 5 th grade curriculum (Interview, April, 2009).
108 Lack of specific experience in teaching reading w as also discussed as problematic. One veteran teacher said, I took the ones (students) that struggle the most because I think somebody who to read (laughs) whereas if you put the least experienced teacher with the ones who are struggling they may never learn to read (Interview, May, 2009). Like many low income schools, Star struggles with teacher attrition. Teachers with longevity at Star discussed the impact of attrition on their grade levels and with the quality of instruction. Teachers new to Star discussed the impact of learning new curriculum and the difficulty of teaching in a school in restructuring due to district and state requirements to improve student achievement. Policy Lack of u nderstanding of s chool c ulture. and the belief that t heir students can and will learn. However, the teachers perceive d that their stu dents come to school from background s that are foreign to policy makers and the populatio teacher said,
109 But in my opinion having computers (at school) is worthless. OK, having lists and they are telling their daddy we need this, well hello, that is beautiful. But how many of our kids do that? The population here? No (Interview, April, 2009). When discussing the home life of her students, the same kindergarten teacher how to work with their children at home. She said, And there are living 10 12 people. I have been in many houses where there is one table and one chair attached to the kitchen, like you have no room, and they have to move if you are going to sit down there, it is like one at a time. And the res t they are eating outside, they are eating anywhere. You walk in and there is no the thing about having a little place where the kid can sit down [to do homework]... (Intervi ew, April, 2009). Her statements stemmed from her previous experience as a legal advocate for migrant farm workers. This teacher, previously a lawyer, entered the teaching profession two years ago and discussed her passion for helping English Language lea rners achieve academically. She was vocal about how difficult school enculturation is for these students.
110 Teachers were also concerned about the additional instructional time mandated to struggling students in an effort in raise test scores. A first gra de teacher understood district concerns about future student drop out due to difficulties with reading but perceived reading policy adding to that problem. She said, I think that all of these little children that they take all day long and they tutor them because they need to get one more point, they have them in regular reading 3 rd grade, and vocabulary and they need to stay [in class], and they need to have their skills (Interview, May, 2009). Another teacher, concerned with the increase in instructional time for struggling students focus mostly on the struggling students and mostly sometimes the other kids fall behind, All of these concerns reflected teach ctive needs. While difficulty with reading is one of the most common reasons for school dr op out (Al O taiba et al, 2007 ), poverty also contributes to drop
111 already at risk. Additionally, critics argue that NCLB (2001) led to less service for able students because they will pass academic assessments anyway ( Sternberg 2008). teachers did not perceiv e their particular population to be understood or best served by some of the districts reading policy choices. Interference w ith i nstruction we really can do because we spend a lot of time trying to put a lot of effort into Due to its failure to make AYP, Bell County School District schools were required to make dramatic shifts in their curricular and instructional design. In the 2008 program, a full inclusion classroom in each grade level, a 30 minute pull out time for their iii students 30 minute cross grade level instructional reading level groups and the Positive Behavior Support model. Teachers spoke positively about the purpose of the changes but found the demands of implementing so many changes in one year daunting. One teacher expressed frustration with all of the changes: school that you have to learn, and you throw away something that was working for you in order to start something new, and most of the time when you start April, 2009).
112 Her frustration was mirrored in a comment from her colleague: How can you get the children to learn the one thing and then you turn aro und and change that over again every couple of months? You teach them all over again and maybe they will learn, grasp the new strategy and maybe they could have grasped it the old way (Interview, May, 2009). I just think they give us so much to April, 2009). While the instructional and curricular changes at Star were instituted in varying degrees in all schools in Bell Co (2008) directs districts to target schools that did not make AYP b ased on their specific eachers perceive d each change as one more task in their already full instructional day to accomplish. They also perceive d each change taking away from their instructional focus since planning time was taken away in order to allow for professional development of new programs Complicated r eferral p rocess for e xceptional e ducation s ervices behind. And they cannot blame the teacher for that. But just to get that kid help, The time and work required to refer students fo r Exceptional Student Education
113 to Intervention (RTI) model ( Bell County Schools 2008 b ) for student academic and behavio ral intervention during the 2004 2005 school ye working within the prog ram (RTI is discussed later in Chapter F our ). Yet another intensive and time costly for teachers who thought their student s needed additional academic services. A fourth grade teacher expressed frustration at her efforts, started last year, being slowed down by the new process: It took me 2 year and I knew he had a learning disability, we ju identified, actually put into a program. I mean, and they were blaming it on the language. They need to listen I think a little more to teachers (Interview, June, 2009). frustration at the new referral process stemmed from mandates to improve student achievement, directives to target specific students with specific if the interventio ns were successful. Teachers perceive they are doing just that, but the RTI model requires more stringent progress monitoring than teachers accomplished in the past. Teachers want ed to help their students learn, and they want ed help with those with whom they have not been successful. They perceive d they were not listened to and did not receive the help they need to successfully impact the academic achievement of their struggling readers.
114 Summary of Research Question 1 Teachers at Star Elementary were no t reticent in discussing their perceptions of and policy makers, they also looked inwardly at their own shortfalls and contributions to AYP failure. But are their pe rceptions of AYP failure grounded in a firm understanding of what NCLB (2001) constitutes as achievement of AYP? The next research question helped me determine how well d what it means to achieve AYP and what NCLB (2001) cha racterizes as the consequences of not reaching that goal. Research Question 2: What are the U nderstandings of T eachers regarding the R estructuring P rocess? Accountability within NCLB (2001) is intended to ensure that all students receive a quality educat ion, especially those attending schools identified as in need of improvement (Porter, Linn & Trimble, 2006). This call for accountability has positioned teachers as part of the problem with failure to achieve AYP (Shannon, 2007) and holds teachers, along with administrators, school districts, and state educational agencies, collectively responsible for student learning. If teachers, by law, are to be held accountable for student learning they must understand what the law states and the consequences of not meeting its mandates. Teacher Understanding of Adequate Yearly Progress and Restructuring clarity and coherence at the conceptual level among teachers (Johnston, 2002, p 220 ).
115 Conversely, teachers, especially at the preservice level, are taught to master the technical institutional context in which they work (Johnston, 2002, p 224). Therefore beginning teachers may enter the field without the larger perspective of how their teaching effects the organization of school outside their individual classrooms. Teacher understanding related to high line how many students passed the test (Boother Jennings, 2006, p 758). While teachers quickly come to realize the importance of high stakes testing, they often do not understand that school reform is a larger issue than simply raising t est scores. Teachers must understand reform for significant change to occur (Ryan & Joong, 2005; Spillane, 2005). A common criticism of reform often espoused by teachers is new reform contradicting past reform (Desimone, Smith & Phillips, 2007), so it is important context of school reform (USDOE, 2006, p 8). Spillane (2005) found that most Michigan math and science teachers did not have a fundamental understanding of the p 9) with colleagues and professional development related to key components of standards change led to teaching practices more closely related to the principals of standar ds instruction. Do teachers at Star Elementary School understand the provisions of NCLB (2001) as it relates to AYP and restructuring? I interviewed twelve classroom teachers and asked them about their understandings of AYP and its restructuring consequen ce.
116 Analysis of NCLB (2001) as Related to Adequate Yearly Progress and Restructuring In order to establish how well teachers understand AYP and its restructuring consequence as delineated in NCLB (2001), I used content analysis (Patton, 2002) to identify meaningful categories of content within NCLB (2001) Documents provide rich the sense making activities through which we reconstruct, sustain, contest, and change our p 499). For this study, document analysis offered an opportunity to compare statements in organizational documents with the observations of individuals participating within the organization. I identified Title I: Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged, Section 1001, and Part A (also under Title I), Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies, Sections 1111 through 1120A of NCLB (2001) as the primary sections of the law that pertained to AYP and its restructuring consequence. While AYP is discussed in other sections of the law, those sections are not germane to this study. Section 1001 contains the statement of purpose (see Appendix A) of Title I as it pertains to the acad emic achievement of disadvantaged children. Twelve indicators of accomplishment define how states, school districts, schools, and teachers are to provide on challen 1001, 2001). I analyzed each indicator to represent the action by its verb, who would accomplish or receive the action, why the action was required, how the action was to be
117 accompl ished, and the quality of the action to be accomplished. Table 19 represents these twelve indicators: Table 19 Indicators of Accomplishment from Statement of Purpose, Sec. 1001, NCLB (2001) Action to be taken Who or What How or Where Why What kind A lign assessments, teacher training, materials and instructional curriculum with state standards to measure progress against expected student achievement assessments, teacher training, materials and instructional curriculum high quality meet educational needs of low achieving, LEP, SWD, Indian, neglected, delinquent and young children in highest poverty schools children in need of reading assistance close achievement gap of high/low performing, minority/non minority, disadvantage/more advantaged children hold accountable identify, turn around LEAs, schools low performing schools improve academic achievement; failed to provide a high quality education provide alternatives, enable students receive high quality education Distribute/target resources to LEAs, schools make a difference where needs are greatest Improve accountability, teaching, learning using state assessment systems make sure that students meet state achievement and content standards, increase overall achievement students especially th e challenged and disadvantaged Provide greater decision making authority and flexibility to schools and teachers in exchange for greater responsibility for student performance Provide educational programs to children using school wide programs or educat ional services increase the amo unt and quality of instruct. time
118 Table 19 (Continued) Action to be taken Who or What How or Where Why What kind Elevate quality of instruction providing opportunities for professional development to staff in participati ng schools quality of instruction significant professional development substantial coordinate services with each other, other educational agencies, other educational services provide services to youth, children and families afford opportunities to par ents participate in the education of their children opportunities substantial and meaningful As evi denced in the preceding table SEAs, LEAs, schools, administrators and teachers are responsible for the achievement of all students, and NCLB (2001) requi res these agencies and individuals to do so by meeting these twelve indicators of accomplishment. Given the broad statement of each indicator, it was necessary to analyze NCLB (2001) further to establish specifically how each indicator should be met. In other words, what does each indicator look like in practice? Next, I analyzed Part A, Sections 1111 1120A ( NCLB 2001) to define specific tasks and behaviors that would meet the requirements of the twelve indicators of accomplishment and, according to Se c. 1 0 01, lead to the academic achievement of all students, specifically disadvantaged students. I read each section and identified information pertaining to AYP, then organized the information into categories. I used an a priori coding scheme ( Patton, 20 02 ) base d on Sections 1111 1120A to sort the information. Th e categories I identified were a) definition, b) required annual
119 improvement, c) calculating AYP, d) time requirements, e) academic assessments, f ) c onsequences of not making AYP, g) reporting, h ) rewards f or making AYP, i ) SEA (state educational autho rities) responsibilities, and j ) LEA (local educational authorities) responsibilities. To verify that these categories were appropriate generalizations of NCLB (2001) information I compared them to information regarding Title I of NCLB (2001). This comparison is displayed in Table 20: Table 20 Comparison of Catego ries Obtained from Sections 1111 120A (NCLB, 2001) Researcher Yell & Drasgow (2005, pp.20 43) Definiti on Chapter Introduction Required Annual Improvement Accountability Calculating AYP Adequate Yearly Progress Time Requirements Accountability Academic Assessments Assessments Consequences of Not Making AYP What Happens When a School Fails to Make AYP Reporting Reporting Requirements Rewards for Making AYP What Happens When a School Makes AYP SEA Responsibilities What Happens When a State Fails to Make AYP Standards LEA Responsibilities What Happens When a District Fails to Make AYP Comparison of the categories revealed a match between eight out of ten categories. Two of my categories, required annual improvement and time requirements, were collapsed into one category, accountability, in Yell & Drasgow (2005). Additionally, Yell & Drasgow (2005) i ncluded an additional category, standards, that I included as part of the state responsibilities category. Finally, the category related to
120 district responsibilities was not developed in Yell & Drasgow (2005) except for mention of consequences of a distri ct failing to make AYP. It was important to draw an alignment between the statement of purpose (Sec. 1001) and the categories identified in Secs. 1111 1120A to distinguish how the indicators of accomplishment looked in practice at the state and local level s. I merged the two analyses by identifying where each category represented in Part A matched the Statements of Purpose in Sec. 1001 (NCLB 2001). This is represented in Table 21: Table 21 Matching Statement of Purpose, Section 1001, with Sections 1111 1 120A Section 1001: Statement of Purpose Indicators or Accomplishment Sections 1111 1120A: Categories align assessments, teacher training, materials and instructional curriculum required annual improvement academic assessments LEA SEA responsibilities m eet educational needs of low achieving, LEP, SWD, Indian, neglected, delinquent and young children required annual improvement academic assessments rewards LEA responsibilities close achievement gap between high/low performing, minority/non minority, disa dvantage/more advantaged children required annual improvement academic assessments calculating AYP consequences reporting rewards LEA responsibilities
121 Table 21 (Continued) Section 1001: Statement of Purpose Indicators or Accomplishment Sections 1111 1120 A: Categories hold accountable, identify, turn around LEAs, schools low performing schools required annual improvement academic assessments time requirements consequences /rewards LEA responsibilities provide alternatives, enable students consequences aca demic assessments reporting LEA responsibilities distribute/target resources to LEAs, schools consequences academic assessments LEA, SEA requirements improve accountability, teaching, learning required annual improvement academic assessments calculating AYP LEA responsibilities provide greater decision making authority and flexibility to schools and teachers required annual improvement LEA responsibilities provide educational programs to children required annual improvement consequences LEA responsibi lities e levate quality of instruction required annual improvement consequences LEA responsibilities coordinate services with each other, other educational agencies, other educational services required annual improvement consequences LEA responsibilities afford opportunities to parents consequences reporting LEA responsibilities Due to the broad nature of each statement of purpose more than one category matched each statement and each category matched more than one statement While performing this ma tch it became evident that successful accomplishment of each indicator in the Statement of Purpose (NCLB, 2001) is the responsibility of the LEA: the district, the school, or both. Two indicators, closing the achievement gap and holding
122 low performing sc hools accountable, encompassed the greatest numbe r of categories related to Sections 1111 1120A (NCLB, 2001). One indicator, to provide greater decision making authority and flexibility to schools and teachers, was difficult to match. I performed a sear NCLB (2001) to find more information regarding how SEAs and LEAs were to allow for this provision. I again found the Statement of Purpose (Sec. 1000, NCLB, 2001) within are given authority over funding, but none related to teachers having authority over anything. Section f failure to make AYP for four consecutive years, essentially decreasing authority at the local level, specifically the authority of administrators and teachers. In Designing Schoolwide Programs (USDOE, 2006) the USDOE defines how the institution of school wide programs allows for schools to participate in the decision making process to create a program that is unique to its needs. Under the schoolwide program, districts are to provide federal funds directly to these schools in order for schools to have max imum discretion in the use of those funds ( Paige 2004). How teachers are given authority resides at the school level, but teacher authority is moderated what can be s aid and thought, but also about who can speak, when, where and with what p 17). While teachers are allowed to make certain decisions related to
123 instruction, those decisions are moderated by district and school level authorities, essentially g iving teachers boundaries within which they may operate. Analysis of Teacher Statements Regarding Understanding of Adequate Yearly Progress and its Restructuring Consequence con sequences as they are related to AYP. Graddol, Cheshire, & Swann (1994) refer to p 215). I had no expectation of teachers telling me the details of the law verbatim, so I read each transcribed interview and identified semantic representations that related to each category times, their responses related to one of the categories were stated as opinio ns rather than statements of understanding. As I identified teacher phrases and sentences that exhibited their understanding, and sometimes the lack there of, of AYP, I entered the te name, the line of text in which the response was found i n the tr anscription, and copied the to AYP identified in Sections 1111 1120A, NCLB (2001), category. Once I finished the initial analysis, I read through the responses in e ach category to look for key words and phrases. Then I went back through each interview and conducted a word find for each key word and phrase to identify any additional relevant responses. resulted in a response possibly appearing more than once. I re sorted each response into the category I
124 determined to be the best match by matching teacher statements to specific indicators found within each of the 11 categories. Inter rater reliability was established at 90%. After I determined how responses matched the eleven categories related to AYP found in Sections 1111 1120A, I re sorted the remarks from each category into the twelve indicators of accomplishment identified in the statement of purpo se in Section 1001 This to the purpose of the law as it relates to student achievement. While this connection was made in comparative data analysis, this does not ind icate that teachers actually made the connection. As I sorted the responses, meaningful units of analysis related to the understanding of the restructuring experience began to emerge. These units consisted of both words and phrases. For example, the wor coded each response for easy identification. Meaningful units were organized into distinct themes related to school restructuring. Finally, I analyzed field notes of classroom observations to find evidence of consequence. I read through the f of AYP. I documented the instructional observations in the same eleven categories to link teacher practic e with statements of understanding.
125 Teacher understanding of AYP is discussed below within the context of the indicators of accomplishment in the Statement of Purpose in Sec. 1001 of NCLB (2001). Alignment of a ssessments, t raining, m aterials, c urri culum and s tate s tandards. and frequency of professional development they received, and the use of new materials and curriculum. The Florida Comprehensive Assessme nt Test (FCAT) is the assessment used in Florida to determine student proficiency in reading, math, writing, and science. As discussed in Chapter T wo the test is administered each March, is directly tied to proved by the United States Department of 2009). Regarding use of assessment data, teachers talked about receiving professional development in data analysis in order to de termine points of need for their students in reading, math, writing, and science as evidenced by student FCAT scores. According to teachers at Star, they receive professional development one to two days per week which is reduced from two days per week f rom the 2007 2008 school year. Professional development that was continued from last school year focused on data analysis, curriculum development, and implementation of instructional strategies (Star
126 School Improvement Plan, 2008). New professional devel opment regarding implementation of a school wide behavior management program, Positive Behavior Support (PBS) implementation of a new school wide writing program, and instit Improvement Plan (2008) cites the implementation of PBS during the 2008 2009 school year. PBS and RTI are discussed in the Targeted Resources section. Teachers responded to the issue of professional development both positively and negatively. Many teachers resented the intrusion on their planning times for professional development, citing the need to stay beyond contractual hours to complete lesson planning and hold parent confe rences. They also indicated an overload of new instructional strategy requirements. However, teachers responded positively to training received for PBS and related an improvement in behavior resulting in increased instructional time. They also discussed the importance of learning new teaching strategies and the positive impact of increased collegiality due to grade level training sessions. Teachers discussed the implementation of new curriculum and use of new materials more than any other topic related to this indicator. Star implemented the Max Thompson Learning Focused Schools (LFS) strategies during their first year of corrective action. According to the Learning Focused website,
127 The Learning Focused Schools Model was developed by Dr. Max Thompson i n response to national, state, and local efforts to increase achievement for all students and to reduce achievement gaps. The Model provides comprehensive school reform strategies and solutions for K 12 schools based on exemplary practices and research bas ed strategies. These practices and strategies focus on five areas: Planning, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and School Organization ( Thompson, M., Learningfocus.com, 2009). Bell County linked LFS with its county curriculum maps during the 2006 200 7 school year. All schools in Bell County are required to follow the pacing of the curriculum maps for all academic areas. Teachers at Star had a great deal to say about LFS and the use of the curriculum maps. Teachers discussed the heavy time requireme nts of preparing LFS lessons. In addition to their regular plans, teachers must develop LFS plans that address the LFS components of acquisition and extended thinking for each lesson. Teachers are also required to maintain learning maps in their classroo ms for reading, math, writing and science. The learning maps, part of the Learning Focus model, provided a visual essential question (UEQ), learning essential questions (L EQs) based upon the UEQ, vocabulary related to the content, and examples of student work resulting from the learning unit. UEQs, LEQs, and vocabulary are found in each content area of the district curriculum maps. Learning maps were visible in ten out of eleven classrooms I visited. When I visited this fourth grade classroom there were only two weeks of school left and
128 the teacher was in the process of preparing the room for summer cleaning and had removed some her instructional materials from her walls. Teachers also discussed the difficulty of matching their core reading program to the district curriculum map for reading. While they agreed that math and science were good matches between materials and map content, they argued that the maps did not matc h the required stories in their basal reading series. For example, the first grade curriculum map requires the teaching of non fiction content during specified weeks of school, yet first grade basals contain fiction selections during the same weeks. Whil e teachers could skip stories in order to match the requirement, they found that they skipped vocabulary and phonics skills that were cumulative throughout the text. When I asked how they accommodated this disconnect, one teacher said they had been told b y an LFS consultant not to use the suggested scope and sequence in the reading series frustration for the teachers in that they had to find outside resources to accomplish an already heavy lesson planning task. Standards, as assessed by the FCAT, drive instructional decisions in their classrooms. The frequency of professional development they rec eived, while understood as necessary to implement new programs required by the district, was perceived as an heavy infringement on both school planning and personal time. New curricular mandates, while understood to be implemented in order to increase stu dent achievement, were targeted by teachers as both work intensive and time consuming requirements.
129 Meeting e ducational n eeds a ssociated with r eading. Teachers discussed at length the necessity of meeting the reading needs of their students. Teacher resp onses indicated three primary ways in which Star worked to promote student achievement in reading: pull out reading for all children by instructional level, immediate intensive intervention (iii) for their most struggling readers, and focus on target scor es for individual classrooms in reading. Every day teachers at each grade level spent 30 minutes working with students at each teacher being responsible for one instruc tional level and all students from that grade level coming to him/her for daily instruction. Supplemental materials, both narrative and expository, were provided to teachers for pull out instruction. In the pull out instruction, students were pulled out of their homerooms and received additional instruction at their instructional reading levels in another classroom. I observed this process during my classroom observations in second and fifth grades. This structure was discontinued during the last few we eks of school due to end of the year activities disrupting the schedule so I did not have the opportunity to observe it in all grade levels. In addition to the grade level 30 minute pull out program, iii students (students who need immediate intensive int ervention in reading) received an additional 30 minutes of small group instruction. This was accomplished by using the guidance counselor, reading coach, and ESE resource teachers and paraprofessionals. Students left their classrooms, usually before the beginning of the reading block, and met with their iii group for 30 minutes each day, met with their instructional reading level groups, and
130 returned to their homerooms for the rest of the reading block. Both certified teachers and paraprofessionals deliv ered instruction using state adopted supplemental instructional materials. Target scores for FCAT reading, math and science were posted in every classroom as well as on the bulletin board in the school entry hallway. Target scores were developed by admin 2007 2008 school year. In order to measure student progress prior to FCAT, students were assessed using Kaplan benchmark assessments The Kaplan Achievement Planner was instituted in Bell County in 2005. Kaplan assessment provide beginning, middle, and end of year assessments on benchmarks tested by the FCAT in reading, math, and science. assessments, Kaplan mini assessments, and p 14). Teachers monitored student progress by analyzing DIBELS and Kaplan scores. Kaplan assessments were administered in August, D ecember, and May. According to teachers, Kaplan scores were used to predict FCAT scores and inform instruction based upon student need. I observed the final Kaplan benchmark assessments (reading, math and science) during three of my visits in a fifth gra de classroom. Before administration of the test, the
131 discussed two interventions, pull out reading blocks and iii groups, as methods for targeting specific skills their students lacked in reading. Teachers also discussed the use of target scores based on a variety of assessments for both classrooms and ind ividual students as a way to monitor progress in reading achievement. Closing the a chievement g ap. Teachers at Star discussed AYP status of both their whole student population as well as that of disaggregated subgroups. However, there was a wide range of understanding exhibited by the teachers in regards to how well their subgroups achieved. for each student were maintained. Several teac hers showed me their data books, whi ch contained assessment and ongoing progress monitoring data for each student, and Assessments included 2008 FCAT, DIBELS, and Kaplan scores. Kindergarten and first g rade teachers also included the 2008 SAT 10 (in place of FCAT), Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (Dunn & Dunn, 2007) and the Elements of Reading Vocabulary (Beck & McKeown, 2005 ) assessment (The Elements of Reading Vocabulary assessm ent will be discussed la ter in Chapter F our ). Teachers in grades three through five discussed how one student could be (and was) reported in more than one AYP cell. As discussed in Chapter T wo AYP cells refer to the 39 separate components used to calculate whether or not school s achieve AYP. For example, one fifth grade teacher explained how several of her students fell into twelve cells: ESE, ESOL, Hispanic, Free/Reduced lunch, lowest 25 th
132 percentile and overall achievement. These students are counted under each category twi ce: once for reading and once for math It was in this area, however, that I found some differences in the understandings subgroup achievement and impact on AYP. I wa s told by the teachers that Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners, African American males, and Hispanic students were problematic. I was also told that there was not much difference in the achievement of Blacks and Hispanics. My analys 2007 2008 school year revealed specific subgroups that did not achieve AYP. Table 22 Proficiency Level Gains by Subgroup, School Year 2007 2008 (Star SIP, 2008) Subgroup Reading Gains Math Gains Total 0 3 White 3 a 7 Black 18 a 8 a Hispanic 12 12 Economically Dis. 0 a 0 a English Lang. Learners 10 10 Students With Disabilities 7 7 a a D id not make AYP White students did not score at required proficiency levels in reading but this was never mentioned by teachers as a problematic subgroup. Hispanic students, one of the groups mentioned as having learning needs, made AYP in both reading and math. These discrepancie s will be further discussed in Chapter F ive
133 Changes in subgroups scores from 2007 to 2008 also reve aled issues with learning gains that were not mentioned by teachers. The number of Black students scoring at Hispanic students increased 12%. Students With Disabilit ies scores increased by 7% as proficiency levels increased or stayed the same from 2007 to 2008. Economically Disadvantaged Students made no learning gains in either ma th or reading. These data needs of their White and Economically Disadvantage d students as well as lack of understanding of test scores by subgroup. [grades] 3 (Interview, May, 2009). An excerpt from an interview with another kindergarten teacher is telling: Teacher : Researcher means?
134 Teacher : Not a clue. (Interview, April, 2009). Teachers understood the significance of disaggregating FCAT data in respects to which subgroups were achieving AYP and which were not. Teachers at all grade levels admitte d to not being sure about subgroup AYP or were wrong in their understandings about subgroup achievement. Primary teachers, especially kindergarten teachers, discussed their feelings of being removed from the AYP discussion and di d not fully understand how AYP a ffected them or their students. Holding s chools and l ocal e ducational a gencies r esponsible. Teachers at Star done so. Response s fell into three categories: a) understanding wha t constitutes AYP achievement, hieve AYP, and c) holding teachers accountable for student achievement. Understanding w hat c onstitutes AYP understanding of AYP requirements as those requirements relate to Star. The y reported that though Star never m ade AYP, c ertain subgroups did achieve the required annual learning gains necessary to achieve AYP and that certain subgroups achieved AYP throu classified as a Level I SINI school (see Chapter T wo for the discussion of Differentiated Acc ountability and its school leveling system). Teachers expressed an understanding of
135 required proficiency targets in reading and math (though some primary teachers did not know what the targets were) and that the FCAT scores in grades three through five we re used to determine AYP. One teacher correctly identified Star as a school in first year restructuring, that school grades are different than Misunderstanding s tatus as a r esult of f ailure to a chieve AYP. Teachers also related misunderstandings regarding AYP at Star. One teacher told me that Star reading as areas 2008 Schoo l Accountability Report revealed that Star met 82% of the necessary crit eria to make AYP (see Appendix B ). Three subgroups (White, Black, and Economically Disadvantaged) did not achieve required proficiency levels to achieve AYP in reading. Likewise, thr ee subgroups (Black, Economically Disadvantage, and Students With Disabilities) did not achieve AYP in math. year changed from year to year as a SINI school.
136 Holding t eachers a ccountable for s tudent a chievement. Teachers reported the beginning of the yea (Interview, April 2009). Teachers were not given the opportunity for input into the writing of their goals as in years past. They viewed this as a shift from focus on student achievement to During one of my classroom observations, a fourth grade teacher was called to the office for a meeting regarding her annual evaluation while her students were at specials. When she returned she was very upset. Sh e talked with her neighboring classroom Kaplan assessments were not good and was told she might have to change grade levels next year because of it. She went on t o say that she had been at Star for seven years and had always had good evaluations but that did not matter to administration. When her (Field Notes, May, 2007) and di scussed their Kaplan results. She acknowledged that her absence when they took the Kaplan may have impacted their results and told them they would be retaking the test the next week. Since Kaplan was used as a district benchmark assessment the students w ere allowed to repeat it. Teachers at Star discussed understandings what constitutes AYP achievement. s Star must meet to
137 through five, understand they are held accountable for student achievement based on both district and state mandated assessments. Providing a lternatives for l ow p erforming s chools. Teachers identified a variety of changes at Star due to their restructuring status. They discussed providing tutoring for studen instruction, pull out strategies for iii students and grade level reading groups, more student time in centers, differentiated centers, and more small group instruction. Th ese alternatives were in evidence during my classroom observations. Third grade students received additional computer lab time during their science and social studies blocks and also received after funds ( allotted for private tutoring services. Students were regrouped for the first 30 minutes of the reading block to ensure that iii students received additional reading instructi on with state approved supplemental materials. A new strategy to Star this year was the implementation of differentiated centers in each classroom. A kindergarten teacher explained that each center contained three to four different levels of similar ski ll practice activities for independent use during center time. While she agreed that this differentiation was more appropriate for her students
138 than the non nterview, April, 2009). Students spent more time in centers this year, and teacher agreement with this use of time was mixed. A fifth grade teacher discussed the greater use of fluency centers, that her students enjoyed it and that she had seen an increa se in their fluency scores on DIBELS. A kindergarten teacher, however, did not agree with center use. She said, I, in the last 3 years I have seen also like they put a bilingual kid with one that is happening is I have the one reason we are in the situation is that the one that knows, the one th at is ahead, because some of us teachers are using our more advanced kids to help us teach (Interview, April, 2009). Teachers agreed that targeting students for supplemental instruction and services was beneficial to meeting student needs. Most teachers p erceived differentiated centers, Distributing t argeted r esources. Teachers identified Response to Intervention (R TI) and Positive Behavior Support (PBS) as two specific programs implemented at Star this year due to restructuring. According to the Bell County Schools website, Positive Behavior Support (PBS)
139 da Department of Education, and receives federal assistance under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) [and is a] proactive approach to managing behavior by teaching expected behaviors and reinforcing appropriate behavior. PBS methods are research based and proven to significantly reduce the occurrence of problem behaviors, resulting in a more positive schools climate and academic performance (Bell County Schools, 2009 b ). Bell County takes part in the Florida Positive Behavior Support Project (FLPB S). County has trained 57 schools in PBS strategies since 2002 with 48 of those schoo ls remaining active PBS schools (Bell County Positive Behavior Support [BCPBS] Newsletter, 2008 b ). In 2008, eleven schools in Bell County received PBS Model School Distinction. Solvin g/Response to Intervention Project (PSRTI), and three model schools began participation in that project in the 2007 2008 school year. According to the Bell County Superintendent, Recognizing the common elements of PSRTI and PBS including data analysis, us e of team based problem solving process, a continuum of evidenced based intervention, progress monitoring, implementation fidelity, and student based
140 outcomes, the district stakeholders have joined together in order to successfully implement PSRTI. We bel ieve that this combined approach can improve academic and behavioral outcomes for all students (BCPBS Newsletter, 2008). While teachers perceived the implementation of the two programs to be a result of this was not the case. All school s in Bell County will eventually use both programs as a district wide intervention (personal communication with Be ll County Schools, 2009). Teachers also related a heighten ed involvement of district personnel at Star. In addition to PBS support staff, St ar is assigned a district level supervisor who oversees the decision making processes concerning curriculum and instruction for schools in r estructuring. As discussed in Chapter T wo Model (2008) is intended to targ et assistance to schools based on their specific needs. As a Correct I School (in restructuring with a school grade of B), Star receives assistance from the district in focusing the reorganization of its structure to strengthen areas missed when calculati ng AYP. from the district due to its AYP status, the teachers incorrectly assumed that any changes occurring at Star, such as the institution of the PBS and RTI models, were du e to failure to make AYP. They correctly identified increased district oversight as a district intervention due to AYP status.
141 Improving a ccountability for t eaching and l earning. Teachers discussed an increased focus on teacher accountability. They iden tified the importance of student learning gains related to annual evaluations, the expectation of meeting target scores following Kaplan and DIBELS assessments, and the need for more specific record While teachers at all grade levels discussed accountability for teaching and learning, one grade level exemplified accountability in restructuring in this category. First grade at Star underwent a reorganization of its reading block in January due to poor performance on the first two DIBELS assessments. Rather than maintaining a heterogeneous balance of students in each classroom, students switched classes for the reading block based upon their DIBELS scores. One teacher, identified as having the poo rest progress for her students, was teamed with a veteran teacher of 24 years in a co teaching model for the two hour reading block. The lowest performing first grade students were placed into this classroom for the reading block. The two teachers shared whole group instruction responsibilities. During small group instruction students rotated through a group with each teacher, a group with the ESE resource teacher, and independent center activities. Each first grade classroom kept its highest performing students (usually three or four). These students participated in whole group instruction and met with the teacher periodically throughout the week to get feedback on assignments. During the rest of the reading block, these high achieving students worked i ndependently or with each other to complete assignments, read and take Accelerated Reader tests.
142 The two first grade teachers discussed the benefits and drawbacks of this model as it related to students learning. They both liked working in a co teaching m odel and reported they had more time to work with students at their instructional levels. I observed this co teaching model during my three classroom visits. The two teachers shared reading instructional responsibilities with their students. During whol e group instruction one teacher would deliver instruction while the other one circulated to help students as needed. During small group instruction each teacher worked with a small group of students. All students rotated through the two teacher groups as well as an ESE resource teacher led group and a computer center. Both teachers reported an increase in DIBELS scores at the end of the year. They also said that the other first grade teachers were not satisfied with the reorganization. While other first grade teachers did not have the lowest performing students in their classrooms, many of them had larger class sizes during the reading bloc k than in their homerooms. Many of the teachers were also dissatisfied with their annual evaluation goals written f or their own students, but instruction for their students was provided by other teachers for half of the year due to ability grouping during the reading block What happened to the two first grade co teachers regarding accountability? The veteran teache adequate progress with her students was not rehired.
143 Providing d ecision m aking a uthority and g reater f lexibility to l ocal LEAs and t eachers. Teachers discussed specific decisions made at Star by administration and placement of teachers on professional development s plans (PDPs), and adding additional lesson plans to coordinate with LFS strategies. District t supervisor, s restructuring status, regularly performed classroom walk thro ughs ( David, 2007). During her walk throughs she checked lesson plans, observed instruction and checked to determine if teachers had up to date learning maps posted in their inator visited classrooms to monitor implementation of classroom management strategies. classroom model. Conversely, teachers did not perceive an increase in decision making au thority teacher leadership opportunities, or greater flexibility for themselves. Teachers commented about feeling under appreciated and perceived a decreased autonomy in their decision making in regards to curriculum and instruction. One teacher, when d iscussing students were dispersed to other classes during the reading block. Tea chers also discussed their performance evaluations being based on student achievement, yet the
144 te achers were not allowed to write their own performance goals; their administrators wrote their goals for them. Retention was an issue that evoked a great deal of conversation. Teachers explained that while they are asked to submit the names of children who have not met the district criteria for promotion at the end of the school year, these children were rarely retained. A first grade teacher said, Well, I te promotion/retention business, because I would like to know, I was wondering and legally who is responsi ble for promoting or retaining the child? I was always told (Interview, May, 2009). push ork (Focus Group Interview, June, 2009) When I asked why there were few retentions at Star, the teachers explained that district supervisor. The teachers went on to disc uss the negative issues surrounding
145 retention, but perceived that their recommendations were of little value when final promotion/decisions were made. Enriched/a ccelerated e ducational p rogram r esulting in i ncreased i nstructional t ime. The biggest change f or Star regarding increased instructional time came in the extension of the reading block from 90 minutes to 120 minutes. Teachers reported the extra 30 minutes gave them more time to work with small groups and more time for students to work together in c enters. Kindergarten and first grade teachers discussed the participation in a nation wide study concerning the effectiveness of Elements of Reading Vocabulary (Beck & McKeow n, 2005 ). Each teacher was required to spend 20 minutes per day in vocabulary instruction using supplemental materials provided in the program. Students were given pre/post tests at the beginning and end of the school year to determine learning gains in vocabulary acquisition. Elevating the q uality of i nstruction. Teachers reported two specific strategies in strategies, began during the 2005 school year and continued through the 2008 2009 school year. LFS was discussed earlier in this chapter. Linked to LFS implementation is an increase in professional development. Teachers received professional development at least once, and sometimes twice, per week during the scho ol year. Training included implementation of a new writing program, continued LFS support, RTI, data analysis, vocabulary instruction, and
146 differentiated centers. Teachers also receive two professional planning days per year with their grade levels to pl an for instruction in order to implement training on instructional strategies into their classrooms. An example of the product of a planning day is the implementation of novel studies into third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms. During their planning d ays, grade levels chose a novel, pulled vocabulary for instruction, located teaching resources associated with the novel, wrote UEQs and LEQs to match the novels, and wrote lesson plans. Social studies instruction was linked to each novel as were student research projects. Novel units were started following spring break and continued through the end of the school year. I observed novel unit instruction in third and fourth grade classrooms. The third grade unit, Bunnicula integrated other content areas During the reading block, teachers followed lesson plans they created as a team for instruction in vocabulary and comprehension skills. The teacher read aloud one chapter per day while leading the students in a discussion of the story. Students follow ed the story in their own copies of the text. Vocabulary was introduced prior to the reading, and students discussed meanings as words appeared in the text. Writing and science were integrated into a research unit on animals where the teacher developed re search questions with the students to guide their research. In fourth grade I observed the novel unit instruction of Strawberry Girl in the reading block. In fourth grade classes, teachers alternated between reading the story to
147 their students and student s reading aloud. Vocabulary in the fourth grade unit was pre taught, and students completed extension assignments following each chapter. Students also completed a variety of graphic organizers focusing on main idea and summarizing at the end of each cha pter. Coordinating s ervices and a ffording p arental p articipation. Teachers made few comments regarding coordination of services intended to positively impact student achievement. Teachers discussed before and after school tutoring as well as the use of r esource personnel to work with iii groups. Teachers discussed the importance of parental participation and student access transportation to send their children to a hig AYP status, they reported they were not aware of parents taking advantage of this option even though letters informing parents of this right were sent home with students as mandated by NCLB (2001). They also discussed th e lack of parental participation in inadequate numbers of children bringing in homework assignments, and difficulty in seeing parents for conferences. Summary of Research Ques tion 2 d that their school had not made AYP due to low student achievement in both reading and math. While they correctly identified some specific subgroups not making AYP, they neglected iden tifying needs with their White S tudent s
148 and Students with Disabilities in reading. Teachers understood the specific consequences related to AYP failure and discussed how those consequences impacted their classroom instruction. They demonstrated an understanding of data analysis of their stud ent FCAT scores and how some students impact AYP calculations more than others. They also understood that data analysis of FCAT scores determined which students needed targeted supplemental instruction and what types of instruction should be delivered. Te achers did not demonstrate an understanding that NCLB (2001) allows for teachers to be part of the decision making process regarding curriculum and instruction at their school. Conversely, teachers reported decreased authority and autonomy due to ailure to make AYP. While they understood that parents are to be an active part in NCLB (2001) and the consequences assoc these consequences as they relate directly to them and their students? The next section Research Question 3: What are the percept ions of teachers regarding the restructuring process? School reform is part of our national educa tion history. As discussed in Chapter T wo education reform in the United States is not a new phenomenon (Cross, 2004) and the focus of reform is ultimately improvement of student achievement (Korkmaz, 2008). The question then is not if education change will happen but how education change will
149 happen (Margolis & Nagel, 2006). In the middle of new legislation and policy demands stands the individual who hold s the ultimate responsibility for enacting educational change: the teacher. p 2) due to the direct impact reform has on strategy instruction, delivery of curriculum p 14) by teachers is essential educational change, and the roles teachers play within their schools directly impacts their satisfaction with their profession and p 155). If teachers do not support proposed changes in curriculum and instruction those changes may never be successfully implemented in their classrooms. School reform evokes a variety of posit ive and negative emotions in teachers (Darby, 2008; Hoy, Hoy & Kurz, 2008). Emotions have a direct impact on teacher self image, job motivation, self esteem, and task perception (Darby, 2008). School reform may lead to feelings of professional inadequacy (Darby, 2008; Ryan & Joong, 2005), anxiety (Darby, 2008; Ryan & Joong, 2005), anger (Darby, 2008; Ross & Bruce, 2007) and fear (Darby, 2008; Olsen & Sexton, 2008). With support from administrators, district personnel, and colleagues throughout through the reform process, teachers can learn to feel ownership of the changes in their classrooms and respond positively to those changes (Darby, 2008; Margolis & Nagel, 2006). Then teachers will more successfully navigate through the emotional turmoil associat ed with reform and successfully institute the changes necessary to positively impact student achievement.
150 The number of years a teacher has taught has also an impact on acceptance of educational reform (Evans, 2009; Darby, 2008). New teachers tend to be adaptable to change engendered by reform where veteran teachers tend to distrust reform, are skeptical of its outcomes, and wait for the trend to pass (Darby, 2008; Olsen & Sexton, stakes tests embedd ed in education reform leads to higher levels of confidence in their abilities to effectively teach students and improve achievement (Evans, 2009). Teacher leadership provided by experience d ierarchical power structures, and unite teachers and administrators in the interest of genuine renewal and true transformation (Beacham & Dentith, 2008, p 285). For education reform to happen, involvement of teachers in the reform process is critical. T eacher self efficacy is also a critical component of successful school reform (Enderlin Lampe, 2002; Hoy, Hoy & Kurz, 2008; Kinsey, 2006). Teacher competency is directly related to teacher performance (Bandura, 1997; Enderlin Lampe, 2002; Hoy, Hoy & Kurz, 2008), and teachers are more likely to embrace reform when they perceive they are adequately prepared to enact mandated changes (Ryan & Joong, 2005). Efficacy influences the instructional decisions teachers make as well as their commitment to persevere d uring the often tumultuous journey through educational reform (Evans, 2009). Efficacious teachers are empowered to make curricular and instructional decisions that enhance the academic success that drives school reform. Recognition of student and teacher learning during the reform process is a key component to improved self image and task perception (Darby, 2008). Recognition of
151 teacher knowledge (Darby, 2008; Ryan & Joong, 2005), collaboration with colleagues (Darby, 2008; Kinsey, 2006), participation i n decision making (Enderlin Lampe, 2002; Kinsey, 2006; Korkmaz, 2008) and relevant professional development (Korkmaz, 2008; Margolis & Nagel, 2006; Ross & Bruce, 2007; Ryan & Joong, 2005) lead to increased teacher dedication to and success with implementin g reform mandates. In the same way teachers provide feedback to their students regarding successful learning, teachers need feedback regarding their progress in the reform journey as well as a stake in the reform process itself. To gain an understanding administered a survey to all instructional staff at Star Elementary School. Following survey administration and analysis, teacher interviews were analyzed to further develop emergent themes identifie d from survey data. Analysis of Staff Survey I administered the staff survey (see Appendix D ) during the April faculty meeting at Star Elementary School. Before the meeting began I introduced myself to the assistant principal, Mrs. Jones, who was facilit ating the meeting, and thanked her for allowing me to talk with the staff. The meeting concerned the results of the annual Title I parent survey. After the parent survey discussion, the Mrs. Jones invited any interested teachers the survey. Approximately one half of the teachers in attendance left the meeting following her announcement.
152 I introduced myself to the remaining staff, explained my research, and asked them to complete the survey. One teacher asked if she could take the survey with her and give it to me later since she had work she needed to do. Mrs. Jones interceded and assured the teacher, and me, that the survey could be turned into her mailbox and delivered to me at a later date, effectively cutting off my response to the question. Approximately ten more teachers left the meeting at that time leaving twelve teachers to complete the survey and return it to me. The remaining twelve teachers were attentive, completed the survey, and turned them in. I thanked Mrs. Jones, who apologized for the number of teachers who left before completing the survey. I assured her it was fine and told her I would check back with her to collect any surveys she rece ived. During the next week five teachers personally gave me the completed surveys and I collected two more from Mrs. Jones bringing the total number of surveys completed to al instructional staff. the responses:
153 Table 23 Staff Survey Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree Input into decisio ns reg arding reading instruction 2 10.52% 8 42.10% 6 31.57% 3 15.79% Received professional development (PD) 8 42.11% 11 57.89% Positive experience 1 0.06% 7 38.89% 9 50.00% 1 0.06% Reading instruction has changed 4 23.53% 11 64.71% 1 0.06% 1 0.06% Co llaborated with colleagues 5 26.32% 12 61.16 2 10.52% Increase in student achievement in reading 2 12.5% 10 62.5% 4 25% Note Some questions show less than 19 responses due to non responses on the surveys. To get an overall view of their agreement and disagreement to the survey statements, I reorganized responses into two categories, strongly agree/agree and disagree/strongly disagree. The results of this reorganization are displayed in Table 24: Table 24 Staff Survey Reorganized into Agreement and Disagreement Resp onses Strongly agree/agree Disagree/strongly disagree Input into decisions regarding reading instruction 10 52.63 9 47.37 Received PD 19 100% Positive experience 8 44.44% 10 55.56% Reading instruction has changed 15 88.24% 2 11.76% Collaborated with colleagues 17 89.47% 2 10.52% Increase in student achievement in reading 12 75% 4 24% Note Some questions show less than 19 responses due to non responses on the surveys.
154 Survey data revealed teacher s agreed or strongly agreed that 1) they received professional development (100%), 2) their reading instructions changed (88.24%), 3) they collaborated with colleagues (89.47%), and student achievement increased (75%) questions; if they had input into decisions regarding reading instructions and if restructuring was a positive experience. I was intrigued by the split in the responses pertaining to input into decisions regarding reading instruction and restructuring being a positive experience. I wondered if years of teaching experience made a difference in these perceptions or any others. I determined that out of nineteen respondents, nine had less than ten years of e xperience and ten had ten years or more experience. I reorganized their responses based upon years of experience as displayed in Table 25: Table 25 Staff Survey Reorganized by Years of Experience Strongly agree/agree Less than 10 years Strongly agree/agre e 10 years or more Disagree/strongly disagree Less than 10 years Disagree/strongly disagree 10 years or more Input into decisions on reading instruction 4 44.44% 6 60% 5 55.56% 4 40% Received PD 9 100% 10 100% Positive experience 3 37.5% 6 60% 5 63.5% 4 40% Reading instruction has changed 8 88.89% 7 87.5% 1 10.11% 1 12.5%
155 Table 25 (Continued) Strongly agree/agree Less than 10 years Strongly agree/agree 10 years or more Disagree/strongly disagree Less than 10 years Disagree/strongly disagree 10 years or more Collaborated with colleagues 8 88.89% 9 90% 1 10.11% 1 10% Increase in student achievement in reading 6 37.5% 7 43.75% 2 12.5% 1 6.25% Note Some questions show less than 19 responses due to non responses on the surveys. To provide a more visual representati on of the data I created a histogram to graphically represent the survey results: Figure 1. Staff Survey Reorganized by Years of Experience Florida t eachers with ten or more years of exp erience reported a perception of slightly more input into decision making with regards to reading instruction (60% to 44.4%). The gap was wider in regards to perceiving restructuring as a positive experience. Sixty percent of teachers with ten or more ye ars of experience reported the
156 experience as positive while only 37.5% of teachers with less than ten years reported the experience as positive. Years of experience made little difference in the responses of teachers with regards to receipt of professional development, change in reading instruction, collaboration with colleagues and perceiving and increase in student achievement. To summarize, the quantitative component of the survey revealed teachers received professional development, perceived a change i n reading instruction, whether or not student achievement increased during the restructuring period. Years of experience had an impact on responses with regards to oppo rtunity for input into reading instruction and perception of restructuring as a positive experience. In addition to quantitative data from responses on a Likert scale, the survey provided a space for teachers to write responses related to each question. I also provided a space at the bottom of the survey for any additional comments teachers wanted to make. survey question. Each written response was copied verbatim and placed in the matching
157 Table 26 Teachers Written Responses to Survey Questions Have input into reading instruction Received PD Restructuring as a positive experience Reading instruction has changed Collaborated with colleagues Student achievement has increased Additional comments no choice making decisions about reading instruction told what will be happening multiple oppor tunities no forceful feedback minimal, inconsisten cies LFS has hel ped have interpreted and adapted has helped to figure out and modify curriculum to fit needs depends on home support We are working hard all decisions made at county and state level usually during block planning makes getting better results difficult ma de staff edgy and irritable little feedback grade levels structure lessons we have weekly meetings DIBELS scores went up statistics can be deceiving no longer allowed to use things that always worked great deal of time consuming staff worried about futur e positions hard time walking a dark path leading nowhere curriculum planning day not always give an accurate picture forced to use less effective methods work load over whelming demands on administration goes to teachers to perform no curriculum addre sses gaps and learning deficits told what will be happening not asked my opinion extra PD terribly time consuming great deal of time work load overwhelming should be instructional levels
158 Table 26 (Continued) Have input into reading instruction Re ceived PD Restructuring as a positive experience Reading instruction has changed Collaborated with colleagues Student achievement has increased Additional comments little time for anything else too much, wrong kind considered leaving the profession putting more and more on teachers less and less help curriculum does not take instructional levels into consider ation takes a great amount of time made to feel incapable and incompetent, inferior lose some of the joy of teaching tremendous load of tedious work time consuming little to do learning After each comment was entered on the spreadsheet I analyzed their comments for emergent patterns and themes. As patterns emerged, I color coded their re sponses. I identified seven categories of responses: a) time consuming, b) issues wi th curriculum and instruction, c) no choice in decisions, d) stress, e) professional development, f) little feedback and g) impact on reading achievement. I reorganized t hese categories into two themes: affective impact (30% of categorical responses) and instructional impact (64% of
159 categorical responses). were duplicated to establish inter rater reliability which was established at 96%. Table 27 displays how I organized categories into themes. Table 27 Themes Identified from Open ended Survey Responses Affective Impact Instructional Impact no choice in decisions stress/punitive little feedback issues with curric ulum and instruction professional development impact on reading achievement time consuming As I read the survey responses I noticed that while most responses were negative in nature, there were responses that were also positive or neutral. I reread each response as negative since it related a concern about job security. After coding positive and negative responses I decided to include a third category, neutral, since some responses were statements of perceived fact or a response that help neither positive nor ne gative connotation. a positive nor a negative connotation to it. To determine the extent to which teachers responded either positively or negatively I placed each c omment within the two themes, affective impact and
160 instructional impact, into three categories: positive, neutral and negative. Table 28 shows the percentages for each category. Table 28 Categories of Survey Comments Theme Positive Neutral Negative Affec tive Impact 0 7% 93% Instructional Impact 17% 30% 53% Affective impact responses where overwhelmingly negative with 93% of all responses (13 out of 14) negative. Instructional impact responses were split with 47% of responses either positive or neutral (5 out of 30 and 9 out of 30 respectively) and 53% negative (16 out of 30). Affective i mpact. Fourteen out of 47 categorical responses to the survey were affective in nature. Categories of affective responses dealt with lack of input into decisions re garding reading instruction, feelings of stress or punitive intent, and receipt of effectively. Teachers commented that they had not been provided opportunities to have input into decision making in regards to reading instruction. One teacher wrote that all decisions came from the district and state level, and three other responses indicated that ion.
161 Two teachers responded to survey questions with comments regarding feedback. One teacher reported minimal and inconsistent feedback to classroom instruction, while The majority of affective responses dealt with feelings of stress and possible punitive actions toward teachers if the desired AYP result is not achieved. One teacher particularly telling. One wrote Instructional i mpact. Comments regarding professional development were positive, with the exception of one teacher who commented professional development at status, and the opportunity to work wit h colleagues during grade level planning days. negative. Teachers related concern regarding the appropriateness of curriculum in meeting their specific student population needs and de livering reading instruction at
162 Comments on changes in reading instruction were mixed. Positive comments revealed teachers perceived an increase in DIBELS scores and that Learning Focus Strategies helped improve reading achievement. Negative comments revealed a distrust one grade level into hom ogeneous groups by reading level. Teachers wrote many responses regarding the time consuming nature of planning and implementing instruction during restructuring. While their responses to professional development were positive, they cited professional development as an infringement on planning time. I attributed this paradox in perceptions to the respect the teachers held for reading assessments and instructional materials, yet they tired of the weekly meetings that took them away from their classrooms to meet with the reading coach. Other Survey data analysis resulted in the identification of Next I anal staff at large.
163 Analysis of Teacher Interviews As discussed i n Chapter T hree structured interview questions were written to mirror the content of survey questions in order to compare data collected from the survey sample to data collected from participants. I reread the transcripts of each interview with an a priori coding scheme (Patton, 2002) to locate units of meaning. The coding scheme was based on the results from the survey analysis and was related to perceptions of instructional or affective impact due to restructuring. I isolated meaningful units in the forms of phrases and sentences within each interview, then copied the passages from the interview from which each unit was found in order to provide contextual meaning for the unit. I then pasted each passage in a spreadsheet where I identified the teacher and interview line(s) of text from which the passage came. Then I color coded interview statements into the sa me subcategories I identified from the survey analysis: no choice in decisions, stress/punitive, little or no feedback, professional development, issues with curriculum and instruction, impact on reading achievement, and time consuming. I filtered the re sponses by color so that all responses from each subcategory were grouped together. Finally, I re sorted the statements as either positive, neutral, or negative stressful, he avier work
164 Table 2 9 Categories of Interview Statements Theme Positive Neutral Negative Affective Impact 6% 12% 82% Instructional Impact 27% 40% 33% Again, affective responses were overwhelmingly negative (64 out of 78 responses), where instructional responses where more neutral 22 out of 55). I compared the results of the survey comments to the st atements made during interviews. Results are displayed in Table 30: Table 30 Comparison of Survey Comments and Interview Statements Affective Instructional Survey positive 0 17% Survey neutral 7% 30% Survey negative 93% 53% Interview positive 6% 27% Interview neutral 12% 40% Interview negative 82% 33% To provide a more visual representation of the data I created a graph to show the combined results.
165 Figure 2 Comparison of Survey Comments and Interview Statements i n Percentages I nterview analyses revealed restructuring mirrored survey analysis in affective impact with survey and interview statements overwhelmingly negative. However, more teachers discussed positive elem ents of instructional impact during interviews than those who had made positive comments on the survey. Similarly, there were fewer negative statements regarding instructional impact during interviews than commented upon by teachers on the survey. The gr eater number of positive statements during interviews may have occurred due to the conversational format of the interview sessions as compared to the more structured fo r teachers to vent their frustrations regarding curricular and instructional changes at Star. Affective i mpact. Seventy eight out 133 interview statements were affective in nature. Like survey comments, categories of affective responses dealt with lack o f input
166 into decisions regarding reading instruction, feelings of stress or punitive intent, and effectively. Stress was the most discussed affective category with 35 out of 78 responses indicative of interview statements related to feelings of stress. The concern regarding job I was worried, I worried Interview, June, 2009). student performance she was not rehired for the 2009 2010 school year. Eighteen statements related to the time consumin g nature of lesson planning, (professional development) one to two days per week [during planning time while development, one teacher said, through, I write them in my lesso doing it right for that concept for these kind of kids (Interview, May, 2009).
167 Another teacher expanded on her issue with professional development, nal development there, you get to your kids (Interview, April, 2009). ol Improvement Plan (2008), professional development was scheduled two times per week (one day for reading and another day for math) during time. Professional development topics for reading included: a) extended thinking skills b) summarizing, c) vocabulary in context, d) advanced organizers, and e) non verbal representations. Professional development related to school failure to achieve AYP is a requirement for schools in restructuring ( NCLB 2001). Teachers also discussed their perceptions of being left out of the decision making process at their school. They were not allowed to write their own evaluation goals as they had done in previous years, nor were their recommendations regarding promotion/retention followed, especi ally in first grade. not participate in planning the types of professional development they needed or would receive. When asked about teacher input during our focus interview, one teacher June, 2009). These perceptions are supported by Darling Hammond, Wei, Andree, Richardson, and Orphanos (2009) who found that fewer than one
168 teachers perceive they have an p 49). Instructional i mpact. Teachers discussed the impact of restructuring on classroom instruction in the contexts of change in curriculum and instruction; some of which were perceived to b e inappropriate or unnecessary. Unlike survey comments, strategies, especially in regards to Learning Focus Strategies. Fifteen out of 55 interview statements related to curriculum and instruction were positive in nature. Co teaching in inclusion classrooms, restructuring reading groups into instructional levels and implementation of new writing and vocabulary programs were discussed as beneficial to teaching and student learning. Learning Focus Strategies, while viewed negatively in the affective category due to stress and time requirements linked to professional development, was discussed positively in regards to its impact on teacher effectiveness and student learning. It helped me focus on of the positive nature of the strategies. This paradox in views regarding LFS is supported by the findings of Darling Hammond et. al (2009) regarding teacher perceptions of professional developme nt linked
169 going, and connected to practice; focuses on the teaching and learning of specific academic content; is connected to other school initiatives; and builds stro ng working p 44) and teachers find these types of professional development activities valuable. When the professional development is linked directly to the concepts and skills teachers want their students to learn, tea cher practice and student outcomes are improved. When student outcomes improve, teachers respond positively to the professional development that led to these improvements in spite of time constraints Negative statements regar ding instructional impact were primarily related to the pacing of curriculum maps. Teachers perceived the curriculum maps as inappropriate in regards to the amount of time allowed for teaching of certain concepts, especially in Difficulty is when you have a class like mine th grade teacher given it eno Other negative comments reflected perceptions of difficulty in aligning materials with curriculum map content. This perception is discussed further in Research Question 4. Summary of Research Question 3 perceptions of restructuring: instructional impact and affective impact. Teachers perceived the instructional impact of restructuring both pos itively and negatively. They discussed the positive benefits of increased professional development but all agreed that
170 it imposed greatly on their planning time. Teachers were also positive about new instructional strategies resulting in an increase in achievement due to their perception that FCAT scores do not give an accurate picture of Perceptions of affective imp acts due to restructuring were predominately negative. Teachers perceived little opportunity for input into decisions regarding curriculum and instruction and discussed the limited opportunities for teacher leadership to emerge They also perceived the p ossibility of punitive actions toward them if their students do not meet academic expectations. Many teachers reported heightened stress due to changes in curriculum and instruction following failure to make AYP, but did not relate the heightened stress s pecifically to the consequence of restructuring. their reading instruction? The next question narrows the focus from restructuring in general to reading in particular. Resea rch Question 4: In W hat W ays H ave T P erceptions of the R estructuring P rocess C hanged their R eading I nstruction? As discussed in Chapter T wo reading instruction has changed since the authorization NCLB (2001) and subsequent publication of The NRP Report (2002). All teaching methods and materials must be based upon scientifically based reading research and children must be explicitly taught the five essential components of reading:
171 phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluen cy. All programs that incorporate instruction in the five essential components of reading must meet the criteria of scientifically based reading research (SBRR). Foorman & Nixon (2006) cite two major impacts of policy initiatives on reading instruction: emphasis on SBRR and emphasis on early reading intervention. Debates have raged concerning the narrow focus the NRP took in its research and recommendations concerning SBRR (Allington, 2006; Krashen, 2004; Yatvin, 2002). Camilli, Wolfe & Smith (2007) arg methodological and classroom experience p 33) to conduct their meta effectiveness of systematic phonics instructi on were misrepresented and lead to the adoption of ineffective scripted reading programs that have done little to improve reading achievement of struggling readers (Allington, 2006). Proponents of current policy initiatives point to the movement of low a chieving schools toward state goals (Weiner, 2004), improvement in reading comprehension in nearly all student subgroups (USDOE, 2008), and improvements in Black and Hispanic AEP test scores (Hall, 2007). Proponents argue that e ffective teacher s successfully negotiate policy mandates and positively impact the academic achievement of their stud ents (Kersten & Pardo, 2007). Current policy supports the view that g ood teaching is good teaching, and teachers who apply effective practices will produc e students who meet state standards.
172 responses to interview questions. Interview tra nscripts were searched for comments to a spreadsheet by teacher name and location of each comment by line number. As patterns emerged I created categorical headings in another electronic spreadsheet and copied each comment under its associated category. Categories regarding chan ge in reading instruction were a ) Learning Focus Strategies, b) new vocabulary program, c) full inclusion cl assrooms for each grade level, d) l onger reading bloc k, e) differentiated centers, f) new ins tructional reading strategies, g) pull out groups and (h) increased student group work. I then looked for patterns across the categories and noted that some related to teacher practice and while o thers related to when reading was taught and what materials were used to teach reading. Inter rater reliability was established at 92%. Three themes, change in reading block structure, change in reading curriculum and change in reading instructional stra tegies, were identified. I then applied content analysis (Patton, 2002) to field notes to locate evidence of implementation of changes in reading instruction noted by teachers. Change in Reading Block Structure Teachers discussed changes in the structur e of their reading block. All elementary schools in Bell County are required to designate 90 minutes of uninterrupted time for reading instruction. This year the reading block at Star was lengthened to 120 minutes as a strategy for improving student read ing achievement.
173 During the reading block at Star, each grade level redistributed students in For the first 30 minutes of the reading block students changed classro oms and met with another homeroom teacher or Exceptional Student Education (ESE) resource teachers for targeted instruction using state approved supplemental materials. This structure differed in grade one where students were placed in homogeneous groups for the entire 120 minute reading block. One of the first grade units housed the lowest performing first grade students. This classroom provided three teachers to work with students in small groups during the entire reading block. Another change in read ing block instruction was the implementation of one full inclusion classroom at each grade level. During the reading block an ESE resource teacher worked in a co teaching model to support ESE and other students identified as struggling with reading. ESE students in inclusion classrooms included any ESE student who, according to his/her Individual Educational Plan (IEP) could participate in FCAT administration. Any ESE students determined not able to participate in FCAT administration received reading ins truction in a self contained ESE classroom. minute reading block. During my classroom visits I found that teachers adhered to the schedule except for fourth grade. For the last si x weeks of school this grade level incorporated a novel unit into their reading curriculum and used the last 30 minutes of the reading block for social studies related to the novel.
174 I observed the 30 minute homogenous instruction time in one fifth grade classroom. The SRA Passport series, a state approved evidence based supplemental reading program (Star School Improvement Plan, 2008), was used during the pul l out he teacher provided background inform ation for a nonfiction selection about forests. She guided students through a story preview using text structure to identify major topics and vocabulary. She and the students read the story together orally and then practiced using prefixes and suffixes to define vocabulary words. When the lesson ended the teacher dismissed students back to their homeroom classes. I also observed the use of ESE resource teachers in kindergarten, first, fourth and fifth grade inclusion classrooms. ESE teachers circulate d during whole group instruction and worked with small groups of students on specific skills. The fifth grade classroom teacher discussed at length the positive benefits of the co teaching model associated with her inclusion classroom. District ESE super visors asked to video the two teachers in action to serve as a model for inclusion classroom teaching. St changed in two ways since entering into restructuring. First, reading instruction now takes place for 120 rather than 9 0 minutes for all students rather than the previous 30 additional minutes for struggling readers only. All students receive reading instruction in the additional 30 minutes at their instructional levels. Additionally, each grade level at Star has one ESE inclusion classroom. An ESE resource teacher works with ESE students in the homeroom classroom rather than instructing students in the ESE resource room. This model provided ESE students the
175 opportunity to participate in a least restrictive environment per their Individual Education Plan requirements while providing a regular classroo m teacher with the support of ESE resource teachers within the context of the general education classroom. Change in Reading Curriculum All schools in Bell County, not ju st those in restructuring, must adhere to curriculum maps and timelines. Star followed the Bell County Curriculum Maps and Timelines for content area instruction. Most grade levels reported working together to match materials with the curriculum map s (ma ps are described later in Chapter F our ) for all content areas. Matching materials was accomplished by teachers previewing the maps to determine what content was to be taught and identifying curricular materials to be used during each period of instruction as defined by the map. Teachers divided this task by taking on responsibilities for planning for one content area and sharing with the rest of the grade level. Teachers expressed frustration with using the maps and timeline. While they agreed the maps and timeline helped make sure they covered content, they discussed at length the problems associated with meeting student needs. Several teachers talked about have to d cover all state standards tested on FCAT in March. Others expressed frustration with the dis connect between the maps and their
176 When I asked a third grade teacher about maps, I found this issue to be true. Fo r example, during Fiction Focus ( weeks 7 10, Bell County Curriculum Maps, 2009 b ) second grade basal stories include a nonfiction selection. To resolve this issue Bell County first required second grade teachers to skip around in the two second grade basa ls in order to match the skills on the map. This resulted in more frustration for the teachers due to the impact skipping stories had on the second grade story sequ (Bell County Second Grade Language Arts Curriculum Map, 2009 b ) for the nonfiction story. lure to achieve AYP. The district is directly involved in the day to day operation of the school and expects Star to adopt required curricular and instructional changes in order to mplem entation of
177 those changes wa s not only difficult due to the reorganization of curriculum but in many cases does not make sense beca use the required curriculum did not align itself with required materials. Another change in curriculum was a new vocabulary program in grades kindergarten, first, third and fourth. Star participated in the Mid continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) research study of Elements of Reading (EOR ) : Vocabulary (Beck & McKeown, 2005). This study provided Florida elemen tary schools an opportunity to receive EOR: Vocabulary by Steck Vaughn at no charge in exchange for participation in the study. The two year study, funded by a grant from the U. S. Department of Education, was designed to measure the benefits of program u se by students at schools with a 40% or higher free/reduced lunch populations (McREL, 2008). Participating students were assessed with a pre/post listening test (McREL, 2008) in which target words were used in sentences. Students determined if the word was used correctly in context and marked a smiley/frowny face to denote correct/incorr ect usage. Final measures also include d student SESAT (kindergarten and first) and SAT 10 (second through fifth) test scores (McREL, 2008). The increase in vocabulary i nstruction this new program helped them meet that requirement. I talked with kindergarten and first grade teachers about the new vocabulary program. They were in agreeme nt concerning the ease of using the materials and implemented the program for the prescribed 20 minutes per day. One first grade teacher
178 year with another first grade teacher due to her during the reading block. The other first grade teacher expressed concern about the developmental appropriateness of the vocabulary for her struggling readers, but liked the program a nd felt it was beneficial to her more able readers. Reading curriculum Use of county curriculum maps and timelines were instituted in all district schools, not just at those in restructurin g. In order to improve vocabulary development, Star participated in the McREL study to determine the effectiveness of Elements of Reading Vocabulary (Beck & McKeown, 2005). Change in Reading Instructional Strategies Teachers reported changes in instru ctional strategies related whole group instruction. Teachers reported that they focused on greater use of high order thinking skills during instruction as well as use of a variety of graphic organizers for summarizing learning. Teachers also fully implem ented the Catching Up Kids LFS model to incorporate strategies for previewing, learning activation, scaffolding and vocabulary instruction. While LFS strategy use began at Star three years ago, teachers fully implemented the use of learning maps reading, math, writing, and science this year. Teachers pointed out a new emphasis on using UEQs and LEQs to scaffold instruction
179 and focus student learning. Reactions to LFS were mixed. One teacher pointed out that using the strategies will learn, grasp the ne (Interview, May, 2009). When asked about change in reading instruction, another teacher Teachers identified a decr ease in whole group and increase in small group instruction this year. Teachers also discussed using cooperative learning strategies in small groups to a greater degree than before and changes in room arrangements to better suit cooperative group interact ion. These structures were evidenced in their lesson plans and in classroom observations, evaluate the veracity of their claims. During classroom visits I observed a variety of instructional strategie s discussed by teachers during their interviews. In every classroom I observed the use of high order thinking questions and a variety of graphic organizers for summarizing reading. I s you think connection of content to real grade teacher connected her experiences as a child charging g roceries at a local market, a
180 practice that has all but disappeared today. She went on to explain that charging is now primarily by use of credit cards. One of her students offered that his uncle is still allowed to charge beer at the local convenience s tore, to which the teacher replied that that was a real nice thing for the store owner to do (Field Notes, May, 2009). Graphic organizers were used consistently to summarize lesson content. I also observed graphic organizers used to demonstrate knowledge of main idea and supporting details, story elements, vocabulary understanding and usage, compare and contrast, cause and effect, and sequencing. These organizers were often used in subsequent lessons for review of lesson content and preparation of story retellings. The emphasis on vocabulary instruction was evident. In third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms vocabulary related to novel units was intr oduced before each c hapter then discussed at length as words arose during reading. Teachers consistently prompted and probed students to define words from the context of the story. When this strategy did not produce the desired results students were directed to use dictionaries and discuss definitions in relation to vocabulary use in their texts. During o ne of my visits in a third grade classroom I watched the teacher help her students navigate their difficulties with unknown words. When the vocabulary word back through the story and tried to help them understand the meaning through context. When this was unsuccessful, she told them to look it up in the dictionary. One student
181 it up. led to much cheering and applause when she told them they were right. Summary of Research Ques tion 4 There have been many changes in reading instruction at Star Elementary School due to its failure to achieve AYP. While teachers admit to being frustrated with the changes they were forced to make, both curricular and instructional, they also discus sed t he benefits of those changes. These changes have occurred over a number of years, not teachers perceive these changes as a result of t heir AYP status even though most o f the changes were implemented in all Bell County schools. It is important to note that as a district Bell County has never achieved AYP, so in essence all changes, whether at Star or any other school in the district, are a result of AYP status. Chapter Summary Chapter F our opened with an introduction to Star Elementary School. Participant selection and the timeline for the study were discussed. Each research question was posed and answered. Methodology for data analysis and findings was discussed. T g eachers placed blame on students, parents, and policy mandates, they also discussed their responsibilities in both achieving and failing t o achieve targeted student outcomes.
182 understand the restructuring process. Teachers demonstrated an understanding of what AYP constitutes and why Star did not achieve AYP in reading or math. Teachers understood the consequences associated with failure to achieve AYP but did not correctly identify all subgroups at their school that were tied to AYP failure. process. Teach ers identified two areas related to impact of restructuring: instructional and affective. Teachers discussed both positive and negative instructional impacts. Affective impacts were negative with increase in teacher stress and decrease in planning time m ost often discussed Finally, question four regarded the impact of restructuring on reading instruction. Teachers discussed the curricular and instructional changes associated with AYP failure but did not link these directly to restructuring. Teachers al so perceived all changes in curriculum and instruction at Star to be a result of AYP failure but not specifically related to restructuring. While schools failing to make AYP implemented these changes first, Bell County implemented these cha nges in all sch ools if any decision of this lack of autonomy resulted in perceptions of powerlessness associated with continual change in curriculum and instructional practices as well as elevated stress and frustration resulting from increased time mandates due to professional development than impinged upon their planning time.
183 While school reform mandates are in tended to improved teacher quality through improved instruction, long term consequences associated with failure to achieve AYP at process. In schools where teachers perc eive themselves to be less competent (Evans, 2009), threatened (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2008), and/or look for others to blame for academic failure (Protheroe, 2008), efficacy suffers. Considering the causal relationship between efficacy and student achievem ent (Evans, 2009; Fives, Hamman, & Olivarez, 2006; Gabriele & Joram, 2007; Hawkins, 2009; Hoy, Hoy, & Kurz, 2008) my research reform mandates intended to enhance student achi evement may negatively impact that achievement due to the undermining of teacher efficacy. This theory is discussed further in Chapter F ive.
184 CHAPTER FIVE : DISCUSSION Ye arly Progress (AYP) and its restructuring consequences. Four research questions were proposed and answered in order to meet this purpose: 1. Adequate Yearly Progress? 2. What are the understandings of teachers regarding the restructuring process? 3. What are the perceptions of teachers regarding the restructuring process? 4. In what ways have their perceptions of the restructuring process changed their reading instruction? Chapter O ne provid perceptions of the restructuring process due to failure to achieve AYP for five consecutive years. I discussed my previous experiences, relationships with teachers in the restructuring process, a nd background in readi ng instruction constituting an impetus for me t o undertake this research. In Chapter T wo a review of the literature informing the study was provided. An overview of NCLB (2001) requirements in regard to accountability, determination s of how AYP is achieved, and a discussion of h design decisions affect achievement of AYP were included.
185 In Chapter T hree I provided an overview of the qualitative methods employed in my study. Grounded theory, ethnography as a research tool, a nd critical discourse analysis provided the theoretical frameworks for this organizational case study. Data collection and analysis pertaining to each resea rch question were discussed in Chapter F our Twelve teachers from a Title I elementary school in i ts first year of restructuring due to failure to achieve AYP were the participants of this study. I analyzed survey, interview and field note data and performed a document analysis of Title I: Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged, Sect ion 1001, and Part A (also under Title I), Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies, Sections 1111 through 1120A of NCLB (2001) to answer the research questions. A review of the literature that lead to the research questi ons, conclu sions, implications, and recommendations for further res earch are discussed in this chapter Introduction The call for assessment and accountability in education is not a new phenomenon (Cross, 2004). Increased student enrollment in the early 20 th centur y, low literacy rates of soldiers in World War I, and the launch of Sputnik in 1957 lead to increased federal interest in education. Establishment of Title I and the Department of Education as a separate entity led to increased federal involvement, specif schools. The publication of A Nation at Risk (1983) called for closer scrutiny of student achievement and implementation of higher standards in United States schools, leading to the tracking of student performance in an eff ort to hold schools and teachers accountable for student achievement.
186 NCLB improvement of student achievement (Ryan, 2002, p 453) and further expanded state testing requirements (G oetz & Duffy, 2003). Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) constitutes the minimum proficiency level of improvem ent in reading and math where public schools must achieve each year (Yell & Drasgow, 2005) with data from all student sub groups disaggregated in an effort to close the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged groups. Failure of even one sub group in one subject to demonstrate AYP results in school failure to make AYP (Olson & Robelen, 2002; Porter, Linn & Trimble, 2006; Weiner & Hall, 200 4). Failure to achieve AYP results in a variety of consequences including increased professional development for staff, parent options to send their children to alternate, high achieving schools, provision by schools to supply economically disadvantaged st udents with tutoring services, and induction into corrective action. Title I schools that fail to make AYP for five consecutive years enter into restructuring in which LEAs must choose one or several of the following corrective actions: replace staff, im plement new curriculum, reduce management authority at the school site, appoint an outside expert, extend the school year, and/ or restructure the internal organization of the school NCLB (2001) Proponents of NCLB (2001) and its AYP consequences point to increased attention to reading and math achievement, especially to under served populations whose academic achievement levels are historically below those of their more advantaged peers. Billions of dollars in federal funding through the Reading First pr ogram reportedly led to
187 increased achievement in reading fluency and comprehension for nearly every grade and subgroup (USDOE, 2008). The Reading First Impact Study: Interim Report (2008) reported that teachers in Reading First schools increased instructi onal time in the five major components of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension). Schools receiving Reading First grants later in the funding process (in the year 2004) showed significant impacts on the time first an d second grade teachers spent on instruction in the five components of reading as well as gains in first and second grade reading comprehension scores. For the first time, states were required to create assessments that were compatible to state educational standards and implement a system for recording and reporting student progress, including data disaggregated by ethnicity, socioeconomic status and disabilities. Critics of NCLB (2001) point to the unrealistic goal of all children reading on grade level by 2014 and the impact of inequitable distributions of high/low achieving students in schools. With its focus on student achievement in the classroom, the law iving in poverty (Berliner, 2006 ). Cri tics also point to the disparities within reporting AYP since each state is responsible in setting its own AYP criteria such disparity resulting in 50 testing systems, sets of standards, accountability systems, and determinations of AYP (Peterson, 2007; Shannon, 2007). Measuring individual student gains has resulted in different determination of proficiency achievement than the AYP subgroup model (Choi, Seltzer, Hermann, & Yamashiro, 2007) Such an arrangement has resulted in student s in schools that made AYP often did not make learning gains as large as students in schools
188 that failed to make AYP (Peterson & West, 2006). NCLB (2001) also positioned teachers as part of the problem with failure to make AYP (Shannon, 2007) which led t o increased instructional time for low achieving students at the expense of instructional time for high er achieving students (Lewis, 2007 a ). The message the public received regarding the quality of United States teachers is that teachers are inadequate and must be held accountable (Granger, 2008). According to Cochran Smith & Lytle (2006) view of good teaching is contingent outcomes of high stakes testing. They teachers who make the difference, but only when their teaching conforms to particular images of good teaching implicit and explicit in the NCLB (2001) p 679). It is in this climate characteriz ed by inadequacy and failure the participants of this study teach their students every day. Their understandings of NCLB (2001) and its AYP consequences, as well as their perceptions of those consequences on their school and themselves, were the focus of this research. Conclusions f rom the Current Study I reached four conclusions regarding AYP and restructuring at Star Elementary school as a result of AYP status, c) there is a difference between the reality and the perception of school quality at Star Elementary School. Each finding is discussed by tying evidence from research at Star to relevant research related to t he finding.
189 Restructuring is n ot the Issue achieve AYP. During interviews, teachers discussed the constant redress of not making AYP but did not discuss restructuring as a n explicit consequence unless specifically requirements regarding accountability did not exist for the se teachers. While there were references to more paper work and ev en more professional development, the majority of responses alluded to their restructuring year being similar to last year (planning for perceptions of first year restructuring (Interviews, April, May, 2009). Another teacher said, When I heard the t unbearable, you know (Interview, May, 2009). While the 2008 2009 school year, the year of this study, was not perce ived as much different due to restructuring than the previous school year, there was an understanding that there could be changes if AYP was not met again. One teacher said,
190 As discussed in Chapter T wo schools that do not make AYP for five consecutive years enter into restructuring. The consequences of restructuring can be a) reopen the school a s a charter school, b) replace all or most of the staff, c) contract with a private management company, d) turn the operation of the school to the state, e) any other major restructuring arrangement that makes fundamental reforms to improve student achieve ment ( NCLB 2001). As discussed in Chapter F our Bell County contracted with Learning Focused Schools (LFS) to implement LFS strategies in all schools in the district starting with the schools identified as Schools in Need of Improvement due to AYP failur e. The 2008 each year brought implementation of new aspects of the program, LFS was not viewed as new to Star as a consequence of restructuring, but was understood to be an effort by the dis trict to improve AYP. Their reactions to LFS were mixed. While teachers understood the benefit of LFS strategies on their instruction the cost in time as well as the mandate for all aspects of the program to be implemented immediately in their classroom s, led to frustration and stress. State educational interventions produce a variety of reactions in teachers. Concern about the process, demoralization, and perceptions of unjust treatment, disrespect and distrust are common reactions by teachers when th ey are told that their schools are not achieving as they should be, and that teachers themselves are not performing in a way that induces adequate academic achievement in their students They perceived
191 their abilities to teach their students well. One teacher said, saying try this, try this, and then they yank things away next year and say try this, given it enough time to see if it really is effective (Interview, April, 2009). This perception of scrutiny is supported by Cochran Smith & Lytle, ( 2006) who discussed how t eachers and a p 669) of both the expectations of achieving AYP and the criticism that follows the failure to do so. Cochran Smith (200 6) defines what good teachers do according to NCLB (2001) : NCLB and its supporting documents consistently portray good teachers as consumers of products, implementers of research based programs, faithful users of test data, transmitters of knowledge and sk ills, and remediators of student weaknesses ( p 679). When teachers fail to achieve those expectations they view that failure as a threat to their jobs (Roell job security surfaced d uring several interviews. During one session the teacher was interrupted by a knock on her classroom door. She excused herself and went outside to talk to another teacher. After the interview resumed I asked her about discussions she had with her collea continued:
192 future held for th did, I got mine yeste (Interview, April, 2009). Their concerns regarding job security were not without merit. One of the study participants was not rehired due to her poor classroom performance an d her student achievement outcomes. Additionally, teachers in low performing schools with high minority and second language learner pop ulations perceive state intervention as reinforcing the stereotypes their schools have struggled to overcome (McQuillan, 2008). This was also true at Star. what many of them regard to be a mission field. Star is the epitome of a low income, high minority neighborhood school located in an undesirable part of town. Teachers discussed the warnings they received from friends and colleagues about working at Star. One tea cher related how her friends warned her about coming to Star. She said, neighborhood first, check this out, check that o going a While teachers at Star understood that their school faced consequences for not making AYP, the label of being a school in restructuring was not perceived as any more
193 or less of a consequence than those imposed in pr evious years nor were characterizations depicted by frequent warnings However, the teachers did discuss concerns regarding continued failure to make AYP and further changes that might be required of them. All Changes in Curriculum and Instruction are a Result of AYP Status As discusse d in Chapter F our there have been many curricular and instructional changes a t Star over the last five years. H owever these same changes have been gradually imposed at all schools in Bell County as strategies for improvin g student achievement. Learning Focus Strategies, Positive Behavior Support, implementation of data books, as well as inclusion in the McREL Vocabulary Study were not limited to Star, but teachers perceived these changes as consequences of AYP failure. O ne teacher May, 2009). and instructional changes only at their school is unclear. It is also unclear to what extent the implementation of these programs promote student achievement, sp ecifically in Bell County, or if the implementation these programs simultaneously has contradictory effects. he percentage of Bell County students reading proficiently in Bell County Schools (as measured by FCAT ) increased by 1% from 2008 to 20 09, and the overall increase in reading achievement (as measured by FCAT) is 7% in five years. The lowest 25%tile posted an increase in reading proficiency of 2% from 2008 to 2009, and a 5% increase in five years.
194 However, percentage of AYP criteria met by Bell County schools fell by 6% from 2004 to 2009 (Bell County Schools AYP Report, 2009). While Bell County Schools are improving overall, the degree of improvement is not sufficient to keep pace wit h the escalating demands of AYP including the Safe Harbor provision. Because change can be difficult, teachers tend to reminisce about what worked for children like p resent. One teacher put a positive spin on instructional change: school that you have to learn, and you throw away something that was working for you in order to start something n ew, and most of the time when you start April, 2009). Another teacher was explicit regarding what she considered to be a detrimental change in reading instruction: I alwa ys enjoy working with the children that need the most help, and I actually a few years ago, before all the Reading First when we were still using the [previous strategies] thing the whole of 1 st grade used it, chang ed the reading just because [researcher ] said every child should be on their instructional level, and it was just
195 you should listen to it on a tape and they should hear it 10 times and they should at their instructional level (Interview, May, 2009). Regardless of their positive or negative perceptions about the outcomes of instructional change, the i The expectation that teachers change what has been successful for them in the past may be un realistic (Kersten & Pardo, 2007 ) and some teachers may ignore new p 146) new p ractice with old. One teacher said, (Interview, May, 2009). I asked teachers how AYP failure impacted their reading instruction. All of the teachers discussed increased time designated to reading, county curriculum maps, implementation of LFS strategies, and changes in lesson planning. One teacher elaborated:
196 s been (learning map) up everyday. We have to refer to it as much as possible. We have to do centers, a lot of more intensive lesson plans, they have to be very detailed. The students groups, I would teach the low reading group, another teacher would teach a higher reading group, then we have another teacher that would teach the lowest of the low. That is something we di d not do last year, and we are implementing it this year. In 5 th grade, which is what I taught last year, did not implement that, 4 th grade did implement SRA but 5 th new for me. While these were changes refer red to as implemented due to AYP failure, each of these changes is required by Bell County in all schools, including schools who have successfully achieved AYP. All Bell County an additional 30 minutes designate d for intensive intervention, all schools are required to use LFS strategies, full inclusion for ESE students has been implemented district wide, list for use with studen ts needing additional intervention beyond those provided in the core reading series.
197 For school reform to be successful, schools as an organizational culture must face change proactively (Blankestein, 2004), yet the most common responses are to a) avoid the challenge, b) embrace every possible solution or choose the quickest and/or easiest, c) ( p 8). At Star, teachers perceive that state and district officials hav teachers are having difficulty keeping up with the demands. New curriculum, new red, stressed out and of changes necessary to positively impact student achievement. Each year, St teachers have implemented new policies and programs mandated by the state and district with no avenue for discussion or consensus by teachers. Every change is perceived as cted with time, attending professional development takes time, assessing students takes time, and their sense of power is diminished as they struggled to find time to do everything required of them without a sense of ownership in the decision making process. One teacher stated,
198 more autonomy as a teacher taken away from above, more people coming in telling me what to do, major effect (Interview, May, 2009). As discussed in Chapter T wo organizations are hegemonic structures based upon power structures between groups of people (Fairclough, 2005). When an organization p 931). The success or p 933). At Star, change associated with failure to make AYP is mandated hegemonically from federal to state to district to school administration to teachers. positive. One teacher said, hea r, you know, but um, they have tried as hard as they can to do everything by the book and to be as fair as they can be (Interview, April, 2009). Another teacher added, Anytime you have physical ailments I think a lot of it tends to be due to stress and I k now that the administration has a lot of stress on them. And they have really
199 worked hard this year, worked so hard, and they are a great administration, too, Teachers also discussed a variety of decisions made at Star by school administrators and district supervisors, none of which were discussed with or agreed administration, not by teachers, for the 2008 2009 school y ear. This was a change from past years: Teacher: Now my principal did come in and she did evaluate my performance in understanding, it is got to be based on my Kaplan and how well the kids did. Researcher: Did you determine the goal for that? believes is that if the students achieve a 70% in reading and they achieve a 60% in on the Kaplan then we believe with that score they shall have no problem passing FCAT (Interview, April, 2009). School wide goals for FCAT testing were posted on the bulletin board in the central hallway at Star. Ea classroom Kaplan and DIBELS goals and student scores (identified by numbers, not names) for each assessment period. I asked teachers about the bulletin board:
200 Researcher: And are the goals that a re posted on the bulletin board, is that you Teacher: Yes that the state goal this year? as done by (Interview, April, 2009). I also asked teachers to discuss the posting of their classroom scores on the bulletin board: Teacher 1: I think that could be detrimental in some ways because if a teacher g as good as I or not when those parents walk down the hallways they can see, hey look [teacher name] is a great teacher, she got all these greens, this is what I want for my child.
20 1 Teacher 1: But if you have all greens and another teacher has reds then they Teacher 3: Yeah, what a lousy teacher. Teacher 2: And then it will motivate you to do better (laughs) way the classrooms are set up or anything (Focus Group Interview, June, 2009). The use of color coding for tracking student progress was not unique to Star. Under the Reading First initiative, the Dynamic Indicator of Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) was established as the primary screening assessment tool for reading fluency in kindergarten through grade three (Schilling, et. al., 2007). Developed by Good and awareness, nons ense word decoding, and oral reading fluency. S tudents were categorized by color depending on outcome scores in each of the subtests with red indicating a need for intensive intervention, yellow indicating the need for moderate intervention, green indicat ing grade level achievement, and blue indicating above grade level achievement. During the 2008 2009 school year, all elementary students in Bell County were screened usin g DIBELS, and teachers used these data to group their students according to DIBELS r ecommendations Student progress, especially in oral reading fluency, was carefully monitored and used as a predictor of FCAT success. Oral reading fluency became the definition of reading ability.
202 While some studies indicated a correlation between DIBE LS achievement and achievement on standardized tests (Elliott et. al., 2001; Riede l, 2007), other studies found DIBELS not to be a reliable or valid indicator of reading achievement (Kamii & Manning, 2005; Schilling et. al, 2007). DIBELS was replaced by t he Florida Assessment in Reading (FAIR) in the 2009 2010 school year, but the color coding system remained with some adjustments. Students in grades kindergarten through second received a Probability of Reading Success (PRS) score based upon letter naming or word list reading accuracy, and students in grades three through twelve received an FCAT Probability of Success (FPS) score based upon passage comprehension and previous FCAT results. Scores in the red zone indicate a probability of 15% or below of te st success, scores in the yellow zone indicate a probability from 16% to 84% of test success, and scores in the green zone indicate a probability of 85% and higher of test success. itive to the perception of their teaching abilities being portrayed as effective or ineffective based upon the number of green students on their classroom pie chart. DIBELS data was closely monitored by school and district administration, so there was an expectation for the green section of the pie chart to get bigger following each administration. Teachers worked hard to meet this expectation by providing more opportunities for their students to work on fluency and build their reading rate. One teacher, however, took umbrage with tracking student success with numbers:
203 on with the children. And they sit, oh they sit, they look at numbers and they look (laughs) (Interview, May, 2 009). This perception of manipulation by outsiders was not limited to student asses sment scores. As discussed in Chapter F our many teachers discussed their frustrations with decisions regarding student retention. One teacher said, t, our principal absolutely will not [retain students] because Researcher: I see, what ] is the one who has the last say on Student retention is a much argued and often volatile issue with both parents and teachers. Students with low academic ability, low socio economi c status, low parental expectations, and high mobility rates, are more likely to be retained (Wilson & Hughes, 2009). Wu West, & Hughes (2008 ) found mixed results in both short and long term reading achievement for retained first graders when compared to their non retained peers. Hong & Yu (2008) reported no evidence of socio emotional harm to retained
204 kindergarteners, yet Holmes (2006) found small gains associated with third grade p 56) by the time the student reaches sixth grade. In a study McGill Franzen & Allington (1993 p 19 ) reported an increased likelihoo d of retention for struggling second grade students in low performi ng schools in order to delay their inclusion in school assessment data. While teachers were sensitive to the implications of retention, appropriateness of of inpu t into the retention discussion. In the same way outsiders decide how well their students are achieving, outsiders also decide whether or not their students have the necessary skills to move on to the next grade. Regardless of the institution of new and effective programs, it is the quality of the teacher and the learning experience that has a positive effect on student achievement (IRA, 2002). However, NCLB (2001) Smith, 2006, p 24) who, if properly traine d, can overcome all deficits students bring into the classroom including economic status, health issues, and family structure, and life experiences. Berliner (2006) points out the conflicting messages policy makers send regarding the educational effects o f poverty and reform measures related to the educati onal achievement of children. Policy makers demand that schools meet the educational needs of these children, yet in turn do little to resolve the educational issues related to poverty that they could im their attention to the outside of school problems that affect inside of school academic
205 p 977). This view is supported by Clabough (2007) who reported school aged children constitute 35% of ranks twenty third (first being best) when comparing poverty rates among school aged children. In Florida, 17.9% of school aged children live below the national poverty rate (First Focus, 2008) whil e in Bell County 58% of students are identified as living in impoverished homes. What about Star? According to the 2009 2019 School come to school hungry, inappropriately dressed, and conflicted by the opposing messages being responsible at school while no one takes responsibility for them at home. At Star, teachers do not perceive themselves as part of the decisio n making processes that promote the key elements for refor m success necessary for school improvement. While survey data indicated that teachers have input into the decision making process with regards to reading instruction, interview data contradicted this finding. This contradiction could be a result of the s mall survey sample or deeper consideration of their input opportunities due to interview probing. Since change is done to them, not with them, an essent Statement of Purpose (2001), that schools and teachers be provided greater decision making authority and flexibility, is subverted. Reality vs. Perception of School Quality performing ng system for the 2008 2009 school year and achieved 92% AYP status. This is a one letter school grade
206 increase and a 10% AYP increase from the 2007 2008 school year (Star S chool Reports, 2008 & 2009, see Ap pendix C ). All subgroups with the exception of English Language Learners and Students With Disabilities achieved AYP in reading, and all subgroups with the exception of Students With Disabiliti es achieved AYP in math. Table 31 displays Tabl e 3 1 Student Achievement in Reading and Math, School Years 2007 2008 and 2008 2009 (Star School Accountability Report, 2009) Reading 2007 2008 Reading 2008 2009 Math 2007 2008 Math 2008 2009 All students 54 59 58 66 White 56 a 65 62 67 Black 39 a 50 44 a 58 Hispanic 57 58 60 67 SWD 38 34 a 38 a 41 a ED 51 a 58 56 a 65 ELL 48 47 a 53 64 a D id not make AYP in math, and 93% of students achieved proficiency on the state writing assessment, up from 90% in the 2007 2008 school year (Star School Accountability Report, 2009). However, failure to achieve state expectations or Safe Harbor in three subgroups result ed in failure to achieve AYP for yet another year.
207 their students bring to school and a demand for high educational standards. These teachers understand that what happens out of school has an effect on school achievement but, like other teachers in low performing schools (Clabough, 2007), they are accused of making excuses if they voice this concern. Cochran Smith & Lytle (2006) discussed focus on teachers as the primary agents of change: The law and its supporting documents lay the onus on teachers to turn things around single handedly, falsely creating the expectation that if teachers were highly qualified they could just do it all by fixing everything that is wrong with public schools ( p 688). in a variety of categories. Language Students living in poverty and acquiring second languages often lag behind their middle class, English proficient peers in reading achievement (Esche, Chang Ross, Guha, Humphrey, Shields, Tiffany Morales, Weschler & Woodcock, 2005). In addition to its served, and I have these kids that come in with very limited English, very limited Hispanic.
208 To address the needs of its ELL population, Star instituted a dual language kindergarten program in which students, both English and Spanish speakers, received o ne half day in English instruction and one half day in Spanish instruction. This intervention was consistent with research findings that dual language instruction is bene ficial for both ELL and English dominant students ( DeJesus, 2008; Letners, 2004). Th e program was taught by two teachers: one native English speaker an d one native Spanish speaker. Unfortunately, the English speaking teacher chose not to continue with the program and no other kindergarten teacher was willing to take her place. The progr am was discontinued. Mobility Schools that fail to make AYP tend to have high mobility rates (Smith, 2005) and high mobility rates impede program implementation deemed necessary to positively impact student achievement (Center for Education Policy, 2007). the 2008 Improvement Plan, 2009 2010, p 2). One teacher explained: An may start out the beginning of the year with a student, withdraws after Christmas, like tha kids, so then when they leave, and I know a lot of it could be because of seasonal
209 work the parents have to go and the kids have to go with you, but then we still take the hit when the y come back (Focus Group Interview, June, 2009) 2008 school year, the impediment urriculum maps were designed as an initiative to reduce the probability of redundancies and gaps in instruction due to the high mobility rate of its students. Sub group Distribution NCLB (2001) requires that all schools meet specific academic criteria in reading and math in order to effectively close the achievement gaps related to race, ethnicity, of year assessments as well as ongoing assessments to identify the needs of specific students as representative of targeted subgroups As discussed in Chapter F our each teacher keeps a data book in which student achievement is disaggregated by subgroups (identified as cells for AYP). I asked a teacher about her per ceptions of her ESE, 5 ESOL., and a couple that lot of cells.
210 Researcher: Did you, what percentage of your kids would be free/reduced lunch? Teacher: Oh, geez, 95% ... I would be shocke d to find out if I had one student that was not free lunch. We could be 100% (Interview, April, 2009) Like most Title I schools, Star has students in every sub group. Since each sub group is populated by at least 30 students as required by statute all su b scores count toward AYP. With its high mobility rate and low achieving AYP are not surprising when compared to other schools with similar make up (Al Otaiba, et. al, 2008; Berliner, 2006; Kaminski & Go od, 1996; Schilling, Carlisle, Scott & Zeng, 2007). However, schools with similar demographics to Star do achieve AYP, both in Bell County (Bell County Schools, 2009) and across the United States (Blankstein, 2004). If other schools can do it, why cannot Star? In the next section I discuss the implications of this research for low performing schools in the context of reform. Implications have no voice in the decision maki restructuring status. While they are held accountable for student achievement, they cannot make decisions regarding curriculum and instruction, professional development, or goal setting for their individua l classrooms. Additionally, the lack of teacher leadership, often problematic in low
211 to become part of the reform process. The Restructuring Inverse Impact Theory suggests negative implications for St long term achievement due to the undermining Three implications for school reform, especially for schools identified as in need of improvement, are discussed in the following sectio n. Teachers Must Be Included in the Reform Process For reform to be successful, teachers must be an integral part of the process (Fullan, 2007; Fullan & Levin, 2009; Tuytens & Devos, 2008). Ignoring the human element associated with change is a barrie r to success (Blankstein, 2004). According to Tuytens & Devos (2008) teachers must understand the need for change at their schools, the goals for their schools, the complexity of the change process, and the practicality of change measures in regards to benefi tting their students As discussed in Chapter F our NCLB (2001) is in some cases limited, resulting in misunderstandings about why they are required to implement new curriculum and instructional strategies. Respect for tea development that supports teachers in daily learning are necessary to withstand the consequences of being labeled as failures (Blankstein, 2004) and have the stamina to find opportunities for success ( Fullan, 2007; Johnston, 2002; Routman, 2002). As discussed in Chapter T wo, NCLB (2001) requires professional development for teachers in low developed with participation from teachers While the district and school administration have made
212 needs, teachers have no input into the types of professional development they receive. While professional develop ment is plentiful at Star, its benefits are sometimes lost on these teachers as they struggle with the time demands associated with receiving training and implementing what they learned in their classrooms. According to Nunnery (2008), t s of reform changes are predictors of the impacts of those chan ges on instructional practices. At Star, teachers perceive changes at their school to be punitive and resulting from to failure to make AYP. While some teachers perceive benefits from the man dated changes in instructional practices, many of them consider previous practices to be beneficial and view new them have lived through during their teaching careers. Go etz and Duffy (2003) suggest that s chool based performance goals and incentives are not sufficient to motivate teachers to make changes in order to reach their NCLB (2001) includes a provision for rewarding schools wh ose students exceed state expectations in student achievement, but those based on previous school year FCAT scores. For the first time in five years, Star scores. The bonus totaled $629.00 per teacher; $ 52.42 per pay period ; or $ 3.31 per day (before t axes)
213 end product of the decision making process for positively impacting student achievement, they are not part of the process Teachers know their students better than anyone else at their schools. Why then, ar e teachers so often left out of the decision making process that directly impacts their students? While passing down edicts and demanding compliance may be an efficient way of meeting state and federal requ irements, it is not the approach research indicat es leads to successful school reform and improved student achievement ( Blankstein, 2004; Fullan, 2007; Fullan & Levin, perceptions of these organizational politics may negatively impact both teacher ef ficacy and commitment (Chan, Lau, Nie, Lim, & Hogan, 2008) resulting in an inverse impact on student achievement. Teachers Must Be Included in Decisions Regarding Professional Development While NCLB (2001) requires state and local intervention in schools f ailing to make AYP, state and local educational agencies alone cannot make the changes required for school improvement (McQuillan, 2008). Commitment of staff (McQuillan, 2008; Nunnery, 2008) and long term professional development (McQuillan, 2008) are nec essary components for successful school reform. NCLB (2001) mandates ongoing professional development for teachers in schools identified as in need of improvement, and those schools receive professional development ; lots of it. As discussed in Chapter T hree the types of professional development required of teachers in low performing schools are focused on improving
214 skills so teachers can help students meet challeng ing academic standards, advancing teacher understanding of adopted programmatic solutions and their procedures that lead to a positive and lasting impact on student learning. These professional developmen t activities are to be planned with participation f rom teachers, principals, parents, and administrators of schools (Sec. 9019(34)(A) of NCLB, 2001) Teachers involved collaboratively in professional learning are more willing to problem solve instructional dilemmas and share best practices (Darling Hammon d, Wei, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009; Strawn, Fox & Duck, 2008; Wood, 2007). Additionally, collaborative learning increases teacher efficacy (Tobin, Muller & Turner, 2006) thereby reducing teacher burnout (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2008). Since effect ive professional development is on going and connected to practice, it is important that teachers study specifically what they need to know to teach their own students. Darling Hammond et. al reported, Going further, research suggests that professional de velopment is most effective when it addresses the concrete, every day challenges that are involved in teaching and learning different subject matter, rather than focusing on abstract educational principals or teaching methods taken out of context ( p 44). Professional learning communities (PLCs) reflect a continuous and sustained focus on teaching practice within the setting where teachers work (Blankstein, 2004; Fullan, 2007; Hargreaves & Shirley, 2008 ). PLCs exhibit reflective dialogue among teachers, f ocus on student learning and collaboration (Blankstein, 2004) and are designed
215 by teachers (Wood, 2007). Teachers investigate issues directly related to their teaching contexts (Strawn, Fox & Duck, 2008), and professional learning is created through share d responsibility for student learning (Hargreaves & Shirley, 2008). Successful implementation of PLCs results in enhance d teacher engagement in professional learning and positively impacts student achievement (Blankstein, 2004; Darling Hammond, 2007; Full an, 2007). professional development, teachers may not have choice in the topic of the professional development or the training is not specifically relevant in individual clas srooms (Blankstein, 2004). This is true at Star as well as other low performing schools (Fullan, hool development, but the readings are provided by administration without the input of teachers. While this professional development may be necessary for school improvement p lan compliance, it does not meet the criteria of a PLC since it is planned and delivered without teacher input nor does it focus on specific needs of individuals or groups of teachers. to the p 276). Teachers who engage in effective, on going professional development learn more about their audiences than anyone else. However, when teachers are excluded from the conversation regarding th e
216 types of professional development that would be most beneficial for the specific needs of their students, reform measures may not be effective (Beachum & Dentith, 2004). Teachers need professional development that is meaningful in the contexts of their classrooms, and they need the time to practice their learning with their colleagues. development, often delivered during their planning time two days per week, and doing th e planning necessary to deliver quality instruction that meets the demands of their professional development. Time management as a barrier to efficacious teaching is not uniqu e to Star (Bibou Nak ou, Kiosseoglu & Stogiannadou, 2000; Cantrell & Hughes, 2008 ; Martin, 2009; McQuillan, 2008). Reform mandates contribute to teacher overload status leaves teachers scrambling for time to plan, get to the copy machine, collabora te with colleagues, and go to the bathroom. How can teachers be committed to change when they perceive themselves to be barely getting their jobs done? In academically high achieving countries, time for professional development is kday by providing class coverage by other teachers, thereby alleviating the burden of lost planning time ( Wei, Andree & Darling Hammond 2009 ). working time engaged in classroom instruction, as compared to about 60% for these other p .48). There is little opportunity for teachers to participate in continuous learning in the settings in which the y work (Fullan, 2007) due to their responsibilities with their own students
217 that prevent them from observing other teachers during the school day. Giving teachers time to learn from and work with other teachers is valuable, but an expense that few princip als can afford due to budget restrictions and mandated professional development expenses. I observed exemplary teaching during my classroom observations at Star. While some professional development delivered by outside experts may be necessary, teachers c an also find models of good teaching right down the hall. Teachers need opportunities during the instructional day to observe and learn from each other (Fullan, 2007). While the reading coach can deliver point of need professional development in teachers classrooms, teachers who watch an exceptional teacher in the daily context may gain a clearer picture of what good instruction entails. Teachers in the midst of reform need sustained and intensive professional development to meet the needs of their stu dents (Fullan, 2007; Strawn, Fox & Duck, 2008 ) For this professional development to be successful, teachers must have choice regarding professional development that is connected to their perceptions of what they need in their classrooms as well as time t o study, practice, and work with colleagues in order to implement new practices effectively (Beachum & Dentith, 2004). Restructuring efforts that force specific types of professional development without input from teachers may reduce teacher efficacy (Cha n et. al, 2008) and may, as a consequence, negatively impact student achievement.
218 Teacher Leadership Is a Necessary Component for Effective School Reform NCLB (2001) demands new and multi faceted roles for school administrators Principals must interact w ith a wider range of stakeholders in education, be state and federal initiatives mandated by school policy reform (Beachum & Dentith, 2004; Feeney, 2009; Reeves, 2009; Spillane, 2009). In the past, school administrators and with that responsibility, the expectation to solve them. School leadership drives reform (Beachum & Dentith, 2004), and post NCLB (2001) principals struggle under the weight of the pressures and responsibilities reform mandates entail (Feeney, 2009). School reform processes demand greater responsibilities from school leaders than they may have experienced in t he past (Beachum & Dentith, 2004; Hoerr, 2009). School leaders must work with a variety of audiences and make decisions regarding effective vin, 2009, p 30) in those initiatives in order for effective reform to occur. Today, effective leadership cannot be contained in one set of prescribed leaders; it must come from all levels of the educational system. Distributed leadership (Hamann & Lane, 2004; Hargreaves & Shirley, 2008; Johnston, 2002; Nunnery, 2008; Spillane, 2009) allows principals to use able others who hold responsibility for various school roles as part of a leadership team. Effective principals recognize that good leaders are ofte n not administrators (Hoerr, 2009), and classroom teachers, who are predominately responsible for enacting reform mandates in
219 their classrooms, may fulfill necessary roles in school leadership r equirements (Spillane, 2009). According to Ackerman & Mackenz ie (2006) t his redefinition of roles may be met with discomfort both from teachers, who often find themselves at odds with current school policy, and principals, who may find their roles as the definitive leaders of their schools compromi sed Regardless of the struggle to redefine leadership roles, effective principals recognize the importance of shared responsibilities in leading their schools through reform processes (Kurtz, 2009). Teacher leaders may provide the link necessary to move reform from conc ept to r eality. As discussed in Chapter F our not perceive themselves as active participants in decision making in regards to curriculum or instructional practices. While supportive of their administration, these teachers follow their leader but seldom lead. Teacher leaders provide a variety of roles in their schools. They may open their classrooms to other teachers, ask and answer questions with colleagues and mentor new teachers (Ackerman & Mackenzie, 2006). These leaders model effe ctive instructional strategies for other teachers (Reeves, 2009) and, in turn, watch other teachers teach so they can apply new practice in their own classrooms and later share this new expertise. They consistently broaden their knowledge about teaching a nd learning while sharing their knowledge and experiences when learning with others (Ackerman & Mackenzie, 2006). Teacher leaders work closely with their administrative leaders to improve professional practice and make change meaningful to the rest of the staff (Reeves, 2009). Teacher leaders are an essential component of school leadership capacity and
220 leadership style, or lack of initiative there are few, if any, cl assroom teachers at Star who serve in leadership capacities. While each grade level has a chair and each chair serves on the leadership committee, these teachers are involved with few if any decision making processes at Star. There are no model classroom s identified at Star, and the only modeling opportunities available to these teachers come from the reading coach or visits made to other schools to watch other teachers in their classrooms. adership capacity is reduced. The principal has to work harder, and her message regarding improvement in classroom instruction might not be received as clearly as it would if modeled through the practices of other classroom teachers. Teacher connectednes s (Kinsey, 2006), promoted when teachers are actively involved in leadership decisions at their schools, is linked to teacher efficacy that positively impacts student achievement. Restructuring Inverse Impact Theory School restructuring, as a consequence of failure to make AYP, may impose a variety of changes at a school. Research indicates when decisions are made without input from teachers reform is not effective (Fullan, 2007; Fullan & Levin, 2009; Tuytens & Devos, 2008). Lack of voice in decisions re garding professional development as well as lack of teacher leadership opportunities may result in reduced teacher efficacy, both individual and collective (Evans, 2009), that may over time negatively impact student achievement. The Restructuring Inverse Impact Theory suggests that the ramifications of school restructuring may in fact lead to the opposite result from that which was intended: reduced rather than enhanced student achievement.
221 While this theory emerged on my research at one Title I school, other research context shape their instruction and impact their efficacy. Results of the Comprehensive School Reform Program (NCLB, 2001, discussed in the next sectio n) have shown little effect of current reform practices on student achievement. This may be why teachers who work in low responsible, and therefore, less efficacious to address the needs of st udents of color and of low Recommendations for Further Research Inquiry leads to more inquiry. Answering the four research questions that led me to this study has led to more questions regarding sch ool reform, AYP, restructuring, and Do C urrent R estructuring P ractices L ead to L ong term AYP I mprovement? In 2002, the Comprehensive School Reform Program (CSR) was au thorized as part of NCLB (2001) to help low achieving K 12 public schools meet performance standards (USDOE, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Study Services, 2008). According to NCLB (2001) there are eleven compon ents to CSR which, when utilized together, lead to effecti ve school reform The Third Year Report from the Evaluation of the Comprehensive School Reform Program Implementations and Outcomes (2008) provided data measuring the relationship between the CSR program and outcomes on student achievement. The Report concluded:
222 1. Receipt of a CSR award was not associated with increased achievement in reading or math through the first three years of the study. 2. Schools who received CSR awards were no more likely to implement legislative ly specified CSR components than non CSR schools. 3. Comprehensiveness of implementation of CSR was not related to student achievement in reading or math. 4. Low performing elementary schools who adopted models with stronger evidence of effe ctiveness showed gains in math. 5. There was limited scientific evidence middle schools who adopted models with stronger evidence of effectiveness showed gains in reading and math. 6. In no other instances was there evidence that adoption models with a scientifi c research base were related to increases in student achievement. This report suggests few if any positive impacts on student achievement under current CSR practices. A comprehensive analysis of current restructuring practices on long term student achieve ment is necessary to determine a) if current practices have any impact on student achievement, and b) if any impact is evident, to what extent is student achievement affected.
223 What I mpact D o T eacher L eaders H ave on Long T erm A cademic A chievement in S chool s I dentified as in N eed of I mprovement? According to Blankstein & Noguera (2004), teachers who succeed in improving the achievement of their students take on the accountability associated with those outcomes. Teacher leadership is vital to the success of any school reform measure (Ac kerman & Mackenzie, 2006; Fullan & Levin, 2009), and teacher leaders include not only curriculum coordinators and resource personnel, but classroom teachers (Ackerman & Mackenzie, 2006; Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2006) who derive t heir authority from their classroom experiences. Teacher leaders emerge as they recognize the need for change and commit to taking action (Kurtz, 2009). These teachers serve as a link between administration and other teachers in the teaching and learning necessary to improve student achievement. (Feeney, 2009, p 213) because teacher leaders provide point of need professional development to their colleagues as well as serving as a conduit between staff and administration. However, little research is available on the long term impact of teacher leaders on student achievement in low performing schools, especially in corrective action and restructuring schools. Full Circle Even with the improvements in academic achievement of its students, Star still did not achieve AYP, is still classified as a school in need of improvement, and is now in
224 its second year of restructuring. Teacher attrition was down for the 2009 2010 school year wit h only two teachers leaving their positions, but the loss of four classroom units due to low enrollment following the beginning of school led to an additional loss of four teachers, all of whom returned from the 2008 2009 school year. There are three new classroom teachers and two new ESE resource teachers as well as a new guidance counselor at Star for the 2009 2010 school year. Due to the loss of Reading First funding, the reading coach position was removed from schools but replaced with an Academic In tervention Facilitator (AIF) position for either math, reading, or science based on school need. The AIF is responsible for many of the same duties as the former reading coach but, as one district official said to me, job desc ription defines the AIF is: Responsible for delivering appropriate teacher to teacher professional learning and coaching support, resulting in improved effectiveness of classroom instructional pract ices and enhanced student achievement (Academic Intervention Facilitator Job Duties and Responsibilities, Bell County District Schools, 2009 a ). professional development, and maintainin g the accountability for federal, state, and coach retired, so a new teacher was hired for the AIF position. I am the new AIF at Star.
225 During the summer of 2009, f ollowing the completion of data collection at Star, I applied for, and was accepted into, the pool of teachers qualified for a reading AIF interview for her AIF position. I was surprised by the invitation. I had little contact with Mrs. Smith during data collection at Star and perceived that while she was gracious during my time at her school she felt I was somewhat of an intrusion. During the interview she told me she co ntacted several teachers with whom I had worked during data collection, and the teachers told her they enjoyed working with me. At the conclusion of the interview she offered me the position contingent upon approval of her district supervisor. I had ma ny questions from the time she called me for an interview to the moment she offered me the position. Did I want to take any AIF position? Yes, I wanted the opportunity to work with teachers as an instructional coach and mentor. Did I want to permanently leave my former school where I had been rehired to teach fourth grade? Yes, I could do that. My year on professional leave made severing ties to the school easier. Did I want to work at Star? This was the biggest question. My perceptions of Star and its teachers were positive. I had the opportunity to spend time in classrooms and work with students and teachers at Star, and my experiences were good. But I was concerned that taking a position at Star would compromise my research. Could I hold bias i n check if I became a part of the staff? I had completed the majority of data analysis prior to interviewing for the position, so I felt that the completion of the dissertation would not be compromised. In addition, I would have the opportunity to
226 view h academic achievement and, unfortunately, failure to achieve AYP yet again. All of the at St ar. Within 30 minutes Mrs. Smith called me to formally offer the position, and I formally accepted. ot changed. They welcomed me as their new AIF and made me part of their school family. Nine out of the twelve teacher participants still teach there, and the teacher participant who retired is often on campus as a substitute. Those ties eased my transit ion as a new staff member, and my position quickly placed me in classrooms new to me and enabled me to get to know the rest of the staff. I have come full circle. I teach in a Title I school that does not have a good reputation but is staffed by dedica ted and talented teachers. Colleagues from my former laughed and reminded her quieted the comments for the moment. The AIF position is funded for only two years. What will I do after that? I do not know. When I asked to conduct research at Star I never imagined I would work there within the next few months. It is enough for me to work there now. I have two years to
227 research had a profound effect on me regarding teacher i nvolvement in school reform, decision Who knows? 2010 could be the year it happens.
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249 Appendix A: Statement of Purpose, Sec. 1001, NCLB ( 2001) TITLE I IMPROVING THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF THE DISADVANTAGED SEC. 101. IMPROVING THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF THE DISADVANTAGED. Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) is amended to read as follows: IMPROVING THE ACADEMIC ACHIE VEMENT OF THE DISADVANTAGED a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments. This purpose can be accomplished by quality academic assessments, accountability systems, teacher preparation and training, curriculum, and instructional materi als are aligned with challenging State academic standards so that students, teachers, 20 USC 6301. VerDate 11 MAY 2000 14:55 Mar 26, 2002 Jkt 099139 PO 00110 Frm 00015 Fmt 6580 Sfmt 6581 E: \ PUBLAW \ PUBL110.107 APPS10 PsN: PUBL110 115 STAT. 1440 PUBLIC LAW 1 07 110 JAN. 8, 2002 parents, and administrators can measure progress against common expectations for student academic achievement; achieving children poverty schools, limited English profic ient children, migratory children, children with disabilities, Indian children, neglected or delinquent children, and young children in need of reading assistance; and lowperforming children, especially the a chievement gaps between minority and nonminority students, and between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers; accountable for improving the academic achievement of all students,
250 Appendix A: (Continued) and identifying and turning around low performing schools that have failed to provide a high quality education to their students, while providing alternatives to students in such schools to enable the students to receive a high quality education; make a difference to local educational agencies and schools where needs are greatest; and learning by using State ass essment systems designed to ensure that students are meeting challenging State academic achievement and content standards and increasing achievement overall, but especially for the disadvantaged; lity to schools and teachers in exchange for greater responsibility for student performance; program, including the use of schoolwide programs or additional services that increase the amount and quality of instructional time; of children to effective, scientifically based instructional strategies and challenging academic content; by providing staff in participating schools with substantial opportunities for professional development; each other, with other educational services, and, to the extent feasible, with other a gencies providing services to youth, children, and families; and opportunities to participate in the education of their children.
251 Appendix B: 2007 2008 Star Elementary School AYP Report 2007 2008 Adeq uate Yearly Progress (AYP) Report School Level Page 1 Bell STAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Did the School Make Adequate Yearly Progress? NO Percent of Criteria Met: 82% Total Writing Proficiency Met: YES 2007 2008 School Grade: B Total Graduation Criterion Met: NA 95% Tested Reading 95% Tested Math Reading Proficiency Met Math Proficiency Met TOTAL YES YES NO YES WHITE YES YES NO YES BLACK YES YES NO NO HISPANIC YES YES YES YES ASIAN NA NA NA NA AMERICAN IND IAN NA NA NA NA ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED YES YES NO NO ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS YES YES YES YES STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES YES YES YES NO
252 Appendix C : 2008 2009 Star Elementary School AYP Report 2008 2009 Adequate Yearly Progres s (AYP) Report School Level Page 1 Bell STAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Did the School Make Adequate Yearly Progress? NO Percent of Criteria Met: 92% Total Writing Proficiency Met: YES 2008 2009 School Grade: A Total Graduation Criterion Met: NA 95% Tested Reading 95% Tested Math Reading Proficiency Met Math Proficiency Met TOTAL YES YES YES YES WHITE YES YES YES YES BLACK YES YES YES YES HISPANIC YES YES YES YES ASIAN NA NA NA NA AMERICAN INDIAN NA NA NA NA ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGE D YES YES YES YES ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS YES YES NO YES STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES YES YES NO NO
253 Appendix D : Staff Survey _____years teaching _____ years at this school I have input into decisions regarding reading curriculum and instruction at my school. Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Please make additional comments in this space: I received professional development in reading instruction since ente ring into the restructuring process Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Please make additional comments in this space: The restructuring process has been a positive experience. Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Please make a dditional comments in this space:
254 Appendix D : Continued My reading instruction has changed since entering into the restructuring process Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Please make additional comments in this space: I collaborated w ith my colleagues regarding reading instruction during the restructuring process. Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Please make additional comments in this space: Student achievement in reading has increased due to curricular and instructi onal changes during the restructuring process. Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Please make additional comments in this space: Is there anyt hing else you would like to add?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR in Elementary Education from from the University of South Florida in 1998. Sh e has taught as an elementary classroom teacher, reading resource teacher, adjunct instructor, graduate assistant at the University of South Florida, and an Academic Intervention Facilitator. Sharon has two children, Jamie and Jim, and a granddaughter, Sidney.